cover image We Don’t Eat Our Classmates

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates

Ryan T. Higgins. Disney-Hyperion, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-368-00355-1

Children do get eaten in this new story by Higgins (Mother Bruce), but only temporarily. Consumed by a young, extremely cute T. rex named Penelope, they emerge unharmed (although goopy and justifiably annoyed) after Penelope’s teacher tells her starchily to spit them out. Penelope has just started school, and eating is a preoccupation; her school lunch is “three hundred tuna sandwiches and one apple juice.” She’s startled to find out that her classmates are all children, “So she ate them. Because children are delicious.” Understandably, this makes it difficult for her classmates to trust her. It takes an encounter with a hungry goldfish to teach Penelope how it really feels to be eaten. Despite the fact that she’s a ravenous carnivore, Penelope’s stuffed-animal snout, her tearful look of distress, and her pink overalls make her too adorable to dislike. It’s clear that she’s doing the best she can, though she does have a few setbacks (“Mrs. Noodleman, Penelope ate William Omoto again!”). Higgins once again delivers sassy dialogue, flawless comic pacing, and faith in the ability of children to learn and grow. Ages 4–8. Agent: Paul Rodeen, Rodeen Literary Management. [em](June) [/em]