cover image Principal Mikey

Principal Mikey

Derek Taylor Kent, illus. by Paul Louis Smith. Whimsical World, $15.99 (158p) ISBN 978-0-9995554-2-2

A 10-year-old is placed in charge of his school in this wish-fulfillment tale. Mikey McKenzie is a known problem solver: he investigates situations such as Operation Squirrel Circus with aplomb. After he and his friend discover the source of a flu outbreak at Prairie View School by using the scientific method (Operation Virus Eradication), the school’s principal puts Mikey in charge while she takes a two-week vacation. What could go wrong? Mikey implements his ideas to improve the school (Operation Kids-in-Charge), complete with go-karts, Slip ’N Slides, and every kid’s Holy Grail: a homework ban. But after his sister breaks the rules more than once, Mikey discovers that there’s more at stake than whether he can serve pizza for lunch every day. Kent (El Perro con Sombrero) gives Mikey the right balance of naivety and altruism, though the story gets carried away at times, even for a book with an unlikely premise (no repercussions following student injuries, for example). Still, Smith’s cartoon-style illustrations showcase a wide variety of Mikey’s successes and failures, and Kent skillfully introduces an inventive role model for budding problem solvers. Ages 7–11. (BookLife)