cover image Joe and Sparky Go to School

Joe and Sparky Go to School

Jamie Michalak, illus. by Frank Remkiewicz. Candlewick, $15.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-7636-6278-3

When a group of "noisy short people" (aka schoolchildren) arrives at Safari World, Sparky the turtle and Joe the giraffe take an immediate interest. With Sparky riding on Joe's head, they peer through the window of the kids' school bus%E2%80%94and inadvertently get taken on a field trip of their own. In the third chapter book to star this unlikely duo, Michalak will have readers giggling over the silly exchanges and comedic misunderstandings that follow as Sparky and Joe attempt to fit in at school. Their discovery of a toilet makes for an especially amusing sequence, as they watch it mysteriously refill: "Do you know what we have learned, Sparky?" asks Joe. "That schools have a magic pond." The vibrant watercolor and colored pencil cartoons and well-targeted humor (the children know that Sparky and Joe are animals, but their nearsighted teacher, Miss Hootie, believes they are students) will entertain growing readers. A final image hints that Sparky and Joe's next adventure might be just on the horizon. Ages 5%E2%80%937. Illustrator's agent: Kendra Marcus, BookStop Literary. (June)