- We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins
ISBN 978-1-368-00355-1 $17.99
Reviewed from galleys R 3–5 yrs
On the first day of school, Penelope Rex takes her pony-print backpack and her lunch of 300 tuna sandwiches and arrives to find, to her surprise, that she’s the only T. rex in a class full of human children. Penelope immediately gobbles them all up, making a poor start to her first day of school (even if she does spit them all out again right away). The other kids, understandably, aren’t subsequently too keen on befriending Penelope, who can’t seem to keep herself from eating them—until the class goldfish takes a bite out of Penelope’s finger and she learns for herself how unpleasant it is to have someone try to eat you. Kids will be tickled by the premise and execution of this odd-dinosaur-out story. With her big eyes, oversized head, pink overalls, and squiggly mouth, Penelope looks more cuddly than vicious, and her expressive face invites both giggles and sympathy as she struggles to control her impulses. Mixed media and digital artwork creates an inviting world in warm earth tones with pops of color, filled with a multicultural cast of children. Youngsters will be clutching their sides during any storytime that features this book, but it can also work as a gentle conversation starter with smaller groups or during a lapsit [End Page 429] to help kids work on self-control and think about how their actions affect others, even when their T. rex impulses feel overwhelming.