Friday, August 9, 2013

Joe and Sparky Go to School

Stories that feature animals in a school setting are always lots of fun, and Joe and Sparky Go to School, I'm happy to report, is no exception. Joe, an inquisitive giraffe, teams up with Sparky, a turtle more interested in sleeping than adventure, to investigate a school bus parked in Safari Land's lot. The bus, filled with "noisy short people" is heading back to school, and when Sparky mistakenly gets whisked away, Joe takes off after him. When the pair arrived at the school, Joe decides a field trip is in order. (Poor Sparky just wants to go home.) Luckily for Joe--and for young readers--Miss Hootie, the teacher, breaks her glasses and never discovers that two zoo animals are among her students. This, of course, provides for more belly laughs as Joe gets into trouble because he's, well, a giraffe. Sparky does much better and by day's end his shell is plastered with gold stars. Don't worry, though. Joe manages to get a star too, in a heartwarming way.

The third in a series, Joe and Sparky Go to School is sure to win over beginning readers. The action moves along at a brisk pace and something to chuckle over happens on nearly every spread. The section in which Joe and Sparky visit the boys' restroom is sure to have kids rolling on the floor! Remkiewicz's cheerful illustrations help reinforce the story line and add to the humor. All in all, this is one easy reader that will have kids eager to go back to school. Who knows? Just maybe a giraffe and his sidekick turtle will visit their class.

Joe and Sparky Go to School
by Jamie Michalak
illustrations by Frank Remkiewicz
Candlewick Press 48 pages
Published: June 2013


  1. I read this one recently. I’ve been meaning to look at the others in the series. Joe’s desperate need to get a star of recognition is very relatable. And hilarious.

  2. I agree. One of the big regrets of being an adult is no longer getting gold stars! Thanks for commenting.