Stanley at School by Linda Bailey, illustrated by Bill Slavin

I loved this book, but what’s even more important is that my five year old grandson loved it, too. Linda Bailey has another winner in the Stanley series with her newest title Stanley at School. Stanley, a curious canine, has always wondered what happens to the kids who pass by his yard every day going to and from school, so he decides to take a look-see with his three friends, “Nutsy”, “Alice”, and “Gassy Jack”. Once they figure out how to open the front door they enter a whole new world full of smells. They follow the scent of salami into the coat room containing all sorts of lunch boxes where they gorge themselves silly until the delighted students arrive. What happens next is total chaos with hugs and wagging tails, that is until the custodian arrives and everyone, dogs and children, take off running. The four companions flee through the gym, music room, and art room until they are caught and end up sitting in the chairs outside the principal’s office. Luckily the school’s principal loves animals, so instead of a scolding they get petted before she shoos them out the door. What a day! They run off to the dog park to share the joys of a school full of eating and running. Wondering why kids should have all the fun, the next day when the school doors open, all the neighborhood dogs are waiting at the bottom of the front steps.

The colorful, cartoonish illustrations by Bill Slavin are full of a diverse population of students, even one in a wheelchair. The principal is a black woman who the animals refer to as “top dog” even while she shows them a bit of love. Her authority shines when she says “off”, “come”, and “go” and the four friends follow one another in a single line out the door and for an additional two blocks from the school. The dogs, a mixture of various sizes and breeds, are adorable and their illustrated antics will make the reader laugh out loud – sure to appeal to both adults and children.

A perfect read aloud for all elementary youngsters, ideal for teachers to share with their classes at the beginning of the school year. Four stars and a thank you to Kids Can Press and Netgalley for an ARC of this picture book in exchange for an honest review.

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