Why I Was Late for School Again

Creston. Aug. 2021. 80p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781939547781.
Gr 1-3–In this hilarious chapter book, Daniel, a young Black student at Chicago’s Stewart School, faces a series of comedic obstacles in his quest to get to class on time. As the book opens, Daniel’s chronic tardiness elicits a warning from his mother that if he’s late yet again, she’ll be forced to meet with his angry teacher Mrs. Finkelplotz, or worse, Principal Underpence. Daniel tries his best to be on time, but as he navigates the streets of Chicago, he meets one antagonist after another with ridiculous problems demanding his help. A group of hungry zombies needs directions to Rocco’s Original Pizza, a troll in Lincoln Park needs help getting herself reassembled, and some wayward pirates in Belmont Harbor need career advice. Daniel’s attempt to make it to school on time quickly goes awry, and he must find a way to prove that his tardiness was justified. Zemke’s illustrations aid comprehension and add a touch of whimsy to the characters Daniel encounters. Young readers will find this book’s silly antics, funny names, and wordplay uproarious. Greenburg keeps his protagonist struggling just long enough to get readers hooked before providing a satisfying resolution. While chapter books for newly independent readers often do best as part of a series, this book is so funny and winsome it can easily stand alone.
VERDICT A must-have for collections serving young readers that will thrive as both a read-aloud or independent reading selection.

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