Calmenson and Yoshikawa’s high-energy romp follows the hapless Mr. Bungles through another calamitous day (Late for School!, 2008).
Though he's not late this time, the teacher’s bad day begins with a bump on the head before he even leaves his bed, and things only get worse from there: There's soap in his eye, jam on his tie and a hamster on the loose. It is this last thread that propels most of the story, as the teacher and his students chase the errant class pet through the school, around the track and into town. Momentarily airborne on the tail of a kite, Nibbles is finally cornered at the local pizza place, where he is nibbling some pepperoni. Calmenson’s verses reflect Mr. Bungles' breathless day. The clever format leaves the last rhyming word to the page-turn, allowing kids who are listening to shout out the answer. “Mr. Bungles sat down with a sigh. / He said, ‘Nibbles, you’re a smarty. / You ran us ’round till lunchtime. / Kids, let’s have a pizza… // party!’ ” Yoshikawa’s energetic artwork plays up the action of the text with bright colors and blurry lines that denote motion.
Poor Mr. Bungles—readers’ enjoyment practically guarantees that he will face yet another bad day sometime in the near future. Here's hoping his positive attitude holds up. (Picture book. 3-7)