cover image Late for School

Late for School

Steve Martin, illus. by C.F. Payne, Grand Central, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-446-55702-3

Comedian Martin's (The Alphabet from A to Y with Bonus Letter Z!) album of banjo songs won a Grammy last year; "Late for School," one of the songs, is included here on a CD. In printed form, without Martin's inimitable delivery, the lyrics read a little raggedly ("Woke up this morning/ Clock said I was late for school/ Teacher told me that's not cool/ Gotta put my shirt and pants on"), but in Payne's (Turkey Bowl) hands, Martin's goofy verse achieves its comic impact on a cinematic scale. The boy's eyebrows shoot up and his lips purse with wild exaggeration as he jams his legs into his shorts; sporting a baseball jersey and a brush cut, he races downstairs, dashes across a neighbor's swimming pool, his feet and legs a blur as he logrolls a pool toy, then grabs a kite and lands on the football field with minutes to spare. (It's Saturday, of course.) Kids will relish Martin's subversive madness—especially the image of the boy elbowing his grandmother facedown into her pie as he rockets out of the house. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)