Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Kate Messner & illustrated by Andy Rash

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: July 6th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8118-7564-6
Publisher: Chronicle

Ernest discovers that making friends is sometimes the hardest part of starting school, but that with a little perseverance and imagination, things can turn around.

Ernest the sea monster starts his school day with a positive attitude, setting out to make some new friends. But somehow, something always goes awry. Ernest’s large size has a lot to do with it, and it isn’t long before the other fish in the lake are making fun and shunning him. But the sea monster doesn’t let that get him down—there’s plenty to do at school. He reads, sings, takes a field trip, tastes some new plants and plays tug-of-war. After lunch, he tries again, this time introducing himself to some sturgeon, who immediately befriend him. And by following his mother’s advice, his imagination allows him to use his large size to his advantage and make even more new friends. Without becoming preachy, Messner offers lots of great messages for children. While Rash’s gouache-and-ink illustrations don’t downplay Ernest’s sad feelings, they also don’t dwell on them. The cartoon sea monster exudes positivity, and the other species of fish have personalities all their own.

Presents kids with some great advice and solid solutions to the most common first-day what-ifs. (Picture book. 4-7)