From Publishers Weekly
Stiles (former head writer for Sesame Street
) tackles a child's preoccupation with starting school in this paper-over-board tale. "On my very first school day ever I met/ friends more fantastic than I had met yet." Mayer (A Walk in the Rain with a Brain
) shows a purple-and-gold striped tail trailing off the page, hinting at the bizarre cast of characters to be introduced in the rhyme. "A poor blue gnu who was feeling quite sick./ And
.../ A yellow-eyed clock who said 'Tock, tick, tick, tick!'/ And
.../ An ape who stood up on five toes for a while,/ with his tongue sticking out from the side of his smile." Also included are a paint-spilling purple cow and a "horse-cow-flamingo-pig-froggy-duck pet" that belongs to a "Smile-o-saurus" (both colorful conglomerations of several animals). Short on plot, the text serves solely as a means to introduce Mayer's bold and zany air-brushed-looking illustrations, which culminate in a portrait of the teacher herself, an alien sporting a camera and antennae atop her green head and pink hair. The riot of colors, shapes and expressions may pull readers into this farfetched jaunt and help them forget their own fears about forming friendships. But the book's final point—that they too will be fantastic friends—will likely be missed amid all the absurdity. Ages 3-6. (July)
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