Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Dog Days of School by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Brian Biggs

Well, by now the first blush of the new school year is over and I suspect there are lots of kids out there who are beginning to wish they didn't have to go to school everyday.  But as Kelly DiPucchio's new picture books warns: be careful what you wish for.

Charlie is pretty tired of school - tired of writing his letters all the time, tired of drawing pictures, just tired of everything about school.  Lucky Norman, he thinks, he doesn't have to go to school cause he's a dog and gets to laze around every day.  So one Sunday night, Charlie wishes on a star that he were a dog.

Next morning, Charlie wakes up in Norman's bed and Norman wakes up in Charlie's bed.  Yes, it's the old switch-a-roo.   Norman goes to school and has fun, while Charlie gets to stay home and does dog things.

It's fun at first, but by Friday, the fun is wearing off for both Charlie and Norman.  And when the weekend is a total disaster for each of them, come Sunday night, Charlie makes another wish - he wishes to be a boy again.

The idea that a kid can make a wish and wake up to find it has come true can be a pretty scary idea for young readers, but writer DiPucchio's dead pan, straightforward text is combined with artist Brian Biggs humorous illustrations to turn this into a lighthearted story kids and their parents will laugh at.  Everything Norman does in school is dog related - for example, making a clay fire hydrant and drawing a food pyramid that consists only of bones, while Charlie gets to do dog things - drinking out of the toilet and digging in the garden.

Why do I suspect that DiPucchio and Biggs both chuckled their way through creating this book?  Perhaps because I and the young reader with whom I read Dog Days of School did exactly that.

So if school is beginning to feel like it isn't so much fun at the moment for your kids, you might want to share this charming story with them.  It worked on my young reader.

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