Some solid advice about both the cafeteria and life is embedded in this tongue-in-cheek tale.

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SEVEN RULES YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST NOT BREAK IF YOU WANT TO SURVIVE THE CAFETERIA

Grandits and Austin team up again to bring readers more school rules that they should (not!) follow.

Kyle, who survived breaking all Ten Rules You Absolutely Must Not Break if You Want to Survive the School Bus (2011), is older now—the bespectacled white lad’s got new interests, mainly all things insect—but he still worries about following the rules. So when a girl on his bus learns he is buying lunch for the first time (horrors!), he follows her advice and takes notes. Will he manage to survive breaking all seven rules, as is inevitable? While some of these rules will be helpful to the elementary or middle school set navigating the lunchroom, others humorously debunk their what-ifs by showing Kyle surviving the worst. They range from not holding up the line or taking too much to remembering to pay, sitting with your classmates (certainly not with the big kids!), and holding onto your tray. Austin’s acrylic, colored pencil, and digital illustrations both wonderfully portray Kyle’s every emotion and hysterically show his imagined metaphors: his class is a column of hungry ants, the lunch lady is an easily annoyed fly on the lookout for trouble, and the sixth-grade bully and his friends are carnivorous water bugs. Refreshingly, the book skips the cliché that school lunches are necessarily bad; the food looks appetizing, and Kyle states it’s very good.

Some solid advice about both the cafeteria and life is embedded in this tongue-in-cheek tale. (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: June 27, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-544-69951-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.

IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the...

CHARLIE BUMPERS VS. THE TEACHER OF THE YEAR

From the Charlie Bumpers series , Vol. 1

Charlie Bumpers is doomed. The one teacher he never wanted in the whole school turns out to be his fourth-grade teacher.

Charlie recalls third grade, when he accidentally hit the scariest teacher in the whole school with his sneaker. “I know all about you, Charlie Bumpers,” she says menacingly on the first day of fourth grade. Now, in addition to all the hardships of starting school, he has gotten off on the wrong foot with her. Charlie’s dry and dramatic narrative voice clearly reveals the inner life of a 9-year-old—the glass is always half empty, especially in light of a series of well-intentioned events gone awry. It’s quite a litany: “Hitting Mrs. Burke in the head with the sneaker. The messy desk. The swinging on the door. The toilet paper. And now this—the shoe on the roof.” Harley has teamed once again with illustrator Gustavson (Lost and Found, 2012) to create a real-life world in which a likable kid must face the everyday terrors of childhood: enormous bullies, looming teachers and thick gym coaches with huge pointing fingers. Into this series opener, Harley magically weaves the simple lesson that people, even teachers, can surprise you.

Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the sarcasm of Wimpy Kid. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-56145-732-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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