When a boy brings his pet pterodactyl for show-and-tell, chaos reigns in the third grade.
Told from the boy’s point of view, the book walks readers through this not-so-typical show-and-tell day, which starts when the pterodactyl almost eats a couple classmates before they’ve even entered the building. But then Krasnesky takes off the kid gloves, and the children start disappearing: “My teacher had to make some minor changes in attendance, / and social studies looked more like the War of Independence.” The illustration that accompanies this last phrase shows the students barricaded behind desks and chairs, one holding an American flag, another playing a (banana) fife, the narrator playing a drum, and several flinging paper projectiles. At recess, the kids all played hide-and-seek (duh!). Leonello gets plenty of practice at illustrating fear, shock, and dismay in her digital artwork. As the day goes on, she masterfully incorporates funny elements that reflect what’s happening: In math, there’s a circle graph showing the number of students present and those absent (i.e., eaten), and during reading, don’t miss the titles of the kids’ books. The class, headed by a white teacher, starts the day diverse but ends up populated by only the white, redheaded narrator and his green pet.
Have your teacher read this the day before show-and-tell: Any pet will be more than welcome…as long as it’s not a pterodactyl. (Picture book. 4-8)