cover image An Anaconda Ate My Homework!

An Anaconda Ate My Homework!

Alice Schertle. Hyperion Books, $15.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-1-4231-1354-6

Imagination and a backpack full of gear trump uncreative paperwork in this high-energy comic book-style escapade. The story opens in a classroom where pale, gray-haired ""Mr. Crumbundle, known to some as Crummy,"" overloads his students with homework. Digby stuffs the assignment in his yellow backpack on his way out. ""But, as luck would have it,"" Digby's eventful trip home precludes Crummy's after-school plan, as Digby and his silent sidekick, a resourceful green frog, are plucked from the sidewalk by a ""Gigantic Repulsive Raptor,"" swallowed by an anaconda and captured by a gorilla. Fortunately, Digby carries a treasure trove of items (bubblegum, party balloons, a basketball) that save him at every turn. Renier (Spiral-Bound) favors a sinister ink line reminiscent of cartoonist Charles Burns's work, and he loads every millimeter of space with activity. Schertle's (Little Blue Truck) exposition and voice-bubble dialogue keep the hair-raising, humorous adventure at a fever pitch (""Guts 'n' innards! Yuck!"" Digby shouts from inside the snake). Digby's exploits put ""the dog ate my homework"" to shame. Ages 4-8.