1.Sneezy Louise by Irene Breznak 2. Once A Mouse… by Marcia Brown 3. A Funny Think Happened On The Way To School by Davide Cali and Benjamin Chaud 4. The Awful Aardvarks Go To School by Reeve Lindbergh
In Sneezy Louise, Louise wakes up with a cold and like many of us, she knows, just knows, the day is going to end up being a shit storm. So it is; Her mom gives her the wrong breakfast, school is a disaster, she ruins ballet class, she sneezes during dinner, and she fucks up story time. We all have days like this, when we don’t feel well and nothing seems to go right. What surprised me was how little empathy the other characters have for Louise. Until the very end of the book no one gives her a break. This book was great to read out loud (Foos, wanting the title to rhyme kept saying “sneezy louisie”). Sneezy Louise also drives the cover-your-mouth-when-you-are-sick-or-suffer-everyone’s-wrath point home nicely.
Once a Mouse… was okay. It’s an adaptation of an Indian fable warning against boastfulness. In this story a hermit transforms a mouse into a tiger to protect it from other creatures. The mouse, now a tiger, lets it go to his head. The woodcut illustrations by Marcia Brown are beautiful, but the way the book is laid out did not make it enjoyable to read out loud. Sentences get broken up across several pages, not in a good way like Where The Wild Things Are, but in a way that makes the story sound clunky.
A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To School… is a book about all the excuses a boy gives his teacher for why he is late to school. Every excuse is stranger than the the one that came before it, and to me, really sound like something a kid with a super fertile imagination might say. The story itself is witty, moves along quickly, and is great to read out loud, but what I really loved where the illustrations. The art in this book is fun, super detailed, and reminded me a bit of Edward Gorey (my fave). This is a companion book to I didn’t Do My Homework Because…, which I haven’t read, but I enjoyed this one so much I will get it on my next library trip.
The Awful Aardvarks Go To School, is about a family of aardvarks who ruin the school experience for the other animals, get expelled, and end up at the zoo. The story cleverly uses every letter of the alphabet to describe the awful things the aardvarks do to the school and to their fellow animal classmates. This book also uses a lot of alliteration, which makes it kind of fun to read out loud. More importantly now that Foos is in school, The Awful Aardvarks helped us discuss what is appropriate behavior, respecting the bodies and properties of others, and being kind to our classmates. Fun fact: The author of this book, Reeve Lindbergh is the daughter of the famous aviator (and apparent philanderer/nazi enthusiast/etc) Charles Lindbergh. FUN.