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.

CLOSE

When the weather turns brisk and fall is in the air, it’s the perfect time to curl up with a good book. We’ve picked 10 new releases that will captivate your imagination while you sip on some hot cocoa.
USA TODAY

 

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…