Hornik (The Secrets of Ms. Snickle's Class
) sets this silly caper in a school located at a zoo, where the teacher/zookeepers encourage their students to live by the motto "Let the Animals Be Your Textbooks." The classroom smells like "peanuts, elephant poop, and rotten bananas," and classroom jobs include Squirrel Crossing Guard and Hippopotamus Greeter. Each of the five pupils has a single-note personality: animal-obsessed Kitty spews forth facts about various critters, skeptical Ursula thinks the school is ridiculous, scaredy-cat Drake fears all the animals, chronically hungry Leo always dozes off and Robin is a hypochondriac. As the kids follow their animal-centered curriculum (they count a zebra's stripes in math class, and in gym they swim with seals), a trio of L.I.O.N.S. (Learned Inspectors of New Schools) conducts its evaluation and tries to track down Ms. Font, the elusive principal. Predictably, the students employ their quirky traits to save the school when the inspectors want to close it, and earn the gratitude of the principal, who turns out to be the non-human Ella Font. Even young animal lovers are likely to find the story hare-brained. Final artwork not seen by PW.
Ages 7-10. (May)