Attention, class! School’s back in session, and children’s authors and illustrators have been busy sharpening their colored pencils to show kids that learning can be fun. USA TODAY’s Jocelyn McClurg offers a report card on six new back-to-school picture books that deserve an “A.”
1. The Teacher’s Pet by Anica Mrose Rissi; illustrated by Zachariah Ohora (Disney-Hyperion, ages 3-5)
What it’s about: This cleverly titled tale isn’t about the perky brown-noser in the front row; it’s the story of a tadpole (part of a science project) who grows into a very, very large problem (as in hippo-size).
What kids will like: Bow-tied Mr. Stricter becomes so attached to big Bruno that he can’t see the elephant, er, hippo, in the classroom, so it’s up to his sensible students to find him a more suitable teacher’s pet.
What parents will like: A guaranteed chuckle for any grown-up who’s ever had to take care of the class “pet” for the weekend.
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2. Seven Rules You Absolutely Must Not Break If You Want to Survive the Cafeteria by John Grandits; illustrated by Michael Allen Austin (Clarion, ages 6-9)
What it’s about: Kyle usually brings his lunch, but today he’s navigating the lunch line, which means dealing with the lunch lady and a hungry, angry school bully, not to mention trying to hang on to his tray.
What kids will like: School lunches are bad enough, but Kyle’s tendency to see everyone as a bug (he’s been reading a book on insects) turns lunch hour into a wacky sci-fi adventure.
What parents will like: Anyone who’s ever pushed a tray will get a kick out of Kyle’s cafeteria survival skills.
3. My Good Morning! by Kim Crockett-Corson; illustrated by Jelena Brezovec (Clavis, ages 3 and up)
What it’s about: A toddler (and her stuffed piglet) get ready for preschool, and it’s a production and half!
What kids will like: The happy little girl in My Good Morning! is quite the independent spirit.
What parents will like: Tired moms and dads will smile at this charming depiction of trying to get a 3-year-old…