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Book Review: Joe And Sparky Go To School By Jamie Michalak, Illustrated By Frank Remkiewicz

Dynamic duo, Joe and Sparky are off on another fun adventure!

Ever cautious Sparky the turtle finds himself unexpectedly on the roof of a bus headed for someplace called “school.” His adventurous giraffe buddy, Joe, sets off to rescue him. Once at school, Sparky and Joe are mistaken for students by the nearsighted and newly glass-less teacher. Joe and Sparky discover that learning is fun (especially the magic pond!) But Joe’s attempts to win a star fall flat. At the end of the day, Joe learns a lesson not found in any textbook.

Jamie Michalak does a great job pairing these personality polar opposites. With one always ready to explore and one always wanting to hold back; Joe and Sparky appeal to both outgoing and shy children. Though slightly longer than most picture books, this four chapter early reader is fast paced and will easily hold children’s attention. And Frank Remkiewicz’s bright watercolors complement the story perfectly, capturing the wit and whimsy of each scene.

With a literalist sense of humor, Michalak introduces young readers to important school concepts like:

Peas are for counting not eating, painting something you love does NOT mean actually painting on the thing you love, and restrooms are not a good place to get some rest. Whether children are going to school for the first time or returning for another new year, Joe and Sparky will help them see their classroom in a warm, wonderful and wacky way. This is a back to school story with lots of heart!

Read more book reviews by Brian Rock, a children’s writer, award winning songwriter and blogger for JenningsWire.