Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3
Genre: Picture book
What did you like about the book? With two days until the start of Kindergarten, Arnold is making his plans to escape by using the superpowers of his alter-ego, Super Saurus. When all his master plans fail and he finds himself stuck in Mr. Z’s class (a.k.a. Zorgo, his archenemy!). What will our brave hero do? Readers soon join Super Saurus in his first day routines and discover things might not be so bad at school after all.
This story demonstrates the imagination and stubbornness of a child while exploring some basic activities of Kindergarten. Many rising Kindergarten children will relate to these traits as they have their own fears about starting school addressed in a silly manner. The cooperation of Arnold by the book’s end is a triumph for both teacher and student!
Anything you didn’t like about it? While Underwood is an acclaimed author, this story falls short. Kindergarten is a big topic for children’s books and there are many more options that address first day fears in a more engaging combination of text and illustrations. The selection of what appear to be brachiosaurs as the main species seems random and, at most points, irrelevant as only some elements in the world are customized to the long necks of the grown-ups, making scenes incongruous.
To whom would you recommend this book? Recommended for young children who love superheros. This is not necessarily ideal for learning about Kindergarten or dinosaurs, but kids will enjoy Arnold’s alter-ego and his imaginative scenarios.
Who should buy this book? Childrens’ library collections (public and school)
Where would you shelve it ? Picture book collection
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No. For young children anxious about Kindergarten, I would more readily recommend “Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes” by James Dean for talking about routines and “On My Way To School” by Sarah Maizes for a silly story about a creative kid (this one also has a cooperative resolution!).
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Melissa McCleary, Pembroke Public Library, Pembroke, MA
Date of review: April 30, 2017