This is the hilarious and adorable story of Marco the bird, who was bored, so his mom sent him to school.
Marco gets inspired at school, but not by what the teacher is saying; rather, a toy astronomer on the shelf causes him to dream about going to the moon. In the process of trying to reach it using building blocks, he makes friends with the other kids, even though he doesn’t get to the moon.
Discussion: I was kind of astounded at the lack of review-love for this book, which stems mostly, it seems, from two reasons: (1) Marco is the only non-human and no one seems to notice; and (2) the story doesn’t convey a more resounding endorsement of the virtues of paying attention to the teacher in school. As to the first point, I think that many kids go to school feeling like the only alien in a place where everyone else knows how to act and how to make friends. And as to the second, well, it actually happens in real life that kids can’t concentrate and/or prefer to daydream rather than to pay attention.
Must we show kids only prescriptive primers? Besides, if you’re looking for positive message, how about the one that no matter how different you feel or look, it’s possible to make friends in school!
Chast (who is the staff cartoonist for the New Yorker Magazine as well as a popular author and illustrator), renders her watercolors in an entertaining and funny way, as always.
Evaluation: I think many young kids will relate to this story. I found it delightful.
Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, 2012