We Don't Eat Our Classmates

by Ryan T. Higgins

Penelope Rex is nervous about starting school, but she’s prepared: She’s... read more

Penelope Rex is nervous about starting school, but she’s prepared: She’s got a new backpack with ponies on it (she loves ponies—they’re delicious), and 300 tuna sandwiches packed for lunch. But she is not prepared when she discovers the other students are all children. “So she ate them. Because children are delicious.” She spits them back up after being yelled at by her teacher, but it isn’t easy to make friends after that. Everyone is afraid of her, especially as she’s prone to the occasional relapse. Discouraged, she asks Walter, the class goldfish, if he’ll be her friend. Walter’s response gives Penelope a new perspective on how it feels to be someone’s snack. There’s no heavy-handed lesson in this hilarious picture book with perfect pacing, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t food—or at least a snack—for thought. The humor gets an even greater boost in mixed-media illustrations showing sweet-faced Penelope in her bright pink overalls alongside a diverse cast of sometimes angry, sometimes fearful, ultimately friendly human classmates. Highly Commended, 2019 Charlotte Zolotow Award (Ages 4–8)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2019

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