Author-illustrator Helms (Honk Whoop, 2017) offers a silly story of a child’s 100th day of school.
The protagonist (“Kid,” according to the label on his backpack) has an assignment—bring 100 things to school on the 100th day of classes. In a rhyming list, Kid begins to think about what he could bring in. Some are realistic, such as “pins or snaps or staples or stickers. / Cotton swabs, pebbles, bottle caps, nail clippers.” Other ideas vary in size and shape to include paper snowflakes, an aquarium full of fish, and a genie lamp, followed by more abstract notions: different cloud shapes, the ‘total sum of minutes that make 40 plus one hour,’ and the (unnamed) things that make Kid special. There are some questionable inclusions, including rabbits’ feet (shown on a key ring, but the concept may bother some readers), dead ants, and “arrows in an Indian quiver.” In the end, Kid attaches all of these ideas on his “thinking cap” and brings it to school, and the busy illustrations contain plenty of cool details. However, the image of Kid himself is remarkably flat, and the rhyme and rhythm scan unevenly, with odd line-breaks. Still, schools in need of more titles about the 100th day may find value here.
A vividly illustrated, if flawed, picture book.