An answer to the classic first-day-of-school question is unspooled in tall-tale fashion by the white boy with the black unruly hair in the too-small suit first met in I Didn’t Do My Homework Because… (2014).
His tall, long-nosed teacher, also white, asks the question, and the story starts on a beach where the boy and his dachshund find a treasure map. Immediately, a magpie steals the map, and the chase begins: from a pirate ship to an adventure with a giant squid, from a submarine to a movie set where an actress (with a long nose) in medieval dress enables the boy to retrieve the map. There’s a hot air balloon trip, an unexpected rescue by his uncle’s flying machine, and then a drop-off on an island where that magpie flies off with the map again, forcing the boy to continue his travels to the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China, and a snowy country populated by yetis. Finally, the boy and the dog find the treasure (some rather tame snorkeling masks) on the original beach. They discover underwater beauty but miss a real treasure chest. They also miss the joke that readers won’t: the teacher has engineered the whole adventure! The small trim, terse, first-person narrative, and detailed, cartoonlike pen-and–colored ink drawings will have individual readers chortling, at least the first time around.
Fun for a first read but unlikely to have children calling for another. (Picture book. 6-8)