cover image Dog Days of School

Dog Days of School

Kelly DiPucchio, illus. by Brian Biggs. Disney-Hyperion, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7868-5493-6

It’s an entire week of Freaky Friday when Charlie’s wish to forego school and live a dog’s life results in a magical swapping of places with his pet, Norman. The dream sours when they both encounter the “long, boring, awful” aspects of the other’s existence (grooming appointments, stories about cats) and discover that bad behavior has its consequences no matter your species. DiPucchio’s (Crafty Chloe) tight, straight-faced prose (“On Friday, Norman ran into some trouble with the scissors and the glue”) is a great read throughout, but just as Gromit is funnier and more intriguing than Wallace, the humor and interest scales of this story tip very much in favor of Norman, who Biggs (Everything Goes) draws as a sort of kidney bean with droopy ears. Norman takes to kid life like he was born to it, creating a strikingly realistic hydrant out of clay and passing out after trying to finish a “triple hot-fudge banana sundae with extra whipped cream.” Reach for this one when the realities and routine of school require a little comic perspective. Ages 6–8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (June)