From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 1–3—In this delightful addition to a solid series, fluent beginning readers will identify with Wagner's April Fools' Day of frustration and satisfaction. In the first chapter, the mouse is fooled by his friend Pearl, his teacher, the librarian, and the cafeteria menu. Then he hopes that the announcement of a math test is another trick, only to discover that "It's for real." Next, Mr. Jumper holds a dance contest during a rainy recess in the gym. Pearl dazzles everyone with her jitterbug and Lulu hip-hops with some "smooth moves," but when Wagner boogies down he falls on his behind. In the third chapter, Wagner asks to visit the school nurse. He returns to class covered with green spots and announces that he has "a bad case of bug pox" and that it's catching. After several loud sneezes, he exclaims, "Ah...ah...ah...April fools!" McMullan's exquisitely crafted story has an endearing blend of humor, humiliation, friendship, and familiar school scenarios. Done in pen and ink, watercolor, and colored pencil, Alley's distinguished illustrations feature a variety of expressive animal characters whose kinesthetic expressions cheerfully depict many of the happenings.—Laura Scott, Farmington Community Library, MI
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Wagner and Pearl return in three episodes taking place on April Fools’ Day. In the first, Wagner is duped by one joke after another. In the second, he tries to learn to dance in gym class but ends up dejected, sitting on the sidelines while Pearl struts her stuff. In the third, he creates a prank to get the last laugh on his classmates. Alley’s expressive ink-and-watercolor illustrations portray Wagner’s shifting emotions with clarity and finesse. McMullen shows clearly why many children have mixed feelings about April Fools’ Day. A brightly illustrated book in the Pearl and Wagner beginning-reader series. Grades K-2. --Carolyn Phelan