From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3—A green iguana who has been left at school during spring break chronicles his escapades in his diary. Without his 25 best friends in Ms. Lee's second grade, Cesar is "a puddle of sadness." Then he discovers other unattended classroom pets, and he relishes tanning under the French fry heat lamp in the cafeteria, playing hockey in the teacher's lounge, and making art in the guinea pig's room. A renegade class-mouse-gone-wild makes Cesar contemplate utter freedom, but minding Peace the turtle's advice, he follows his heart and returns to Ms. Lee's room. Some of Cesar's droll humor and fresh perspectives are interrupted by an unexplained phrase such as "thanks to Daniel's karate kick, I got my own journal and pen." Some forced puns break up the flow as well, as when Cesar encourages hockey players to "give Peace a chance," and later takes Peace to the world (a globe). Rogé's acrylic cartoons emphasize the comedy with bright colors and creative poses. Pair this with Holly Meade's John Willy and Freddy McGee (Marshall Cavendish, 1998) for another tale of escaped pets, this time in the home, or Megan McDonald's The Night Iguana Left Home (DK, 1999) to contrast a pet who decides to leave for the wide world.—Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
For children wondering what goes on at school during the breaks, a class pet with a big personality offers an eye-opening report. With everyone gone for spring vacation, school seems a dark, lonely place to Cesar the iguana—until he wanders into the lunchroom and meets Sassy, a guinea pig that makes her home with a different class. As it turns out, there’s a full round of recreational activities on tap for the school’s left-behind menagerie, from a basketball tournament to a visit to the library. In simple, thickly brushed cartoons, Rogé depicts a smiling animal cast basking under the french-fry heat lamps, sacking out in the Lost and Found, reading books about one another, and, in general, having a great time. Come Sunday, Cesar has a decision to make: Should he stay free, or go back to his classroom? He opts for the latter, and the vacation stories of the children who return on Monday leave him making more wide-ranging summer plans. This lighthearted narrative closes with a page of iguana facts. Grades 1-3. --John Peters
See all Editorial Reviews