From School Library Journal
Grade 1–3—This book begins on an odd note, as Tyrone Brown proclaims: "I'm a professional student and class clown." A primary-grade audience will be clueless as to what "professional student" means, and adults will be puzzled as to how a child can fall into that category. Tyrone explains that he enjoys science and math, but that books are "so last year" and that "the library is a boring place" with "stinky pages." He sits with his back to his teacher and colors on his shoe as she reads. Disappointed that the class is listening to the story instead of being awed by his "spaceship" (a paper airplane), Tyrone decides to listen, for a change. He not only discovers that he likes stories, but also that the characters emerge from the books. When Miss Libro reads about a pig, it pops off the page, and the children fall in love with it. However, after she finishes reading the book, the porker vanishes, and the children find all of the characters in the library. Tyrone's abrupt conversion is unlikely, as is his equally sudden ability to indulge in flights of fancy. Brunkus's bright and cheerful watercolor art features a multiethnic cast with expressive faces and energetic body language. Celebrity authorship and intriguing art will draw children to this entry, but for stories that combine fantasy with more logical plot development, stay with Carmen Deedy's The Library Dragon
(Peachtree, 1994) or David McPhail's Edward and the Pirates
(Little, Brown, 1997).—Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ
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Tyrone loves math, lives for science, and is king of the playground. But books—well, he doesn’t really care for them. When his teacher, Miss Libro, reads aloud, Tyrone usually finds something better to do, like making paper airplanes. Then, during one of the story sessions something happens: Tyrone starts listening. And once he listens, incredible things occur. Ghosts and dragons fly out of their books and into the classroom, and Ben Franklin stops by. But best of all is when a pig pops in (perhaps Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web?); Tyrone is crushed when the story is over, and the pig disappears. A search for the pig ends at the library, where the students also find all the other characters they have met before. A combined effort by First Lady Laura Bush and daughter Jenna, the author of Ana’s Story (2007), this purposeful tale gets a real kick from the art. Brunkus, the illustrator of the Junie B. Jones books, offers highly colored pictures that find fun in classroom situations, both real and fantastical. Even nonreaders may be prompted to give books a try. A portion of the proceeds goes to Teach for America and the New Teacher Project. Grades K-3. --Ilene Cooper