Review of We Don't Eat Our Classmates

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates
by Ryan T. Higgins; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary    Disney-Hyperion    48 pp.
6/18    978-1-368-00355-1    $17.99

The first day of school is tough enough; imagine you’re a wee Tyrannosaurus rex and it turns out that your classmates are, of all things, human. Penelope Rex does what any nervous dino would do: she eats the children, thereby eliminating the source of her anxiety and enjoying a delicious meal in the process. Although, obeying teacher Mrs. Noodleman’s orders, Penelope soon spits out the (be-slimed) kids, they are understandably wary of her. Desperate to prove herself friend-worthy, Penelope calls on her powers of restraint, with limited success (“Mrs. Noodleman, Penelope ate William Omoto again!”). She only recognizes her folly when the class goldfish takes a bite out of her finger: “Once Penelope found out what it was like to be someone’s snack, she lost her appetite for children.” Higgins builds his soft-around-the-edges cast out of dinosaurishly lumpy-craggy art. He is clearly having a ball, parodying parental-advice tropes (Penelope’s dad: “Sometimes it’s hard to make friends…Especially if you eat them”) while sending the message that fitting in is, although frequently difficult, almost always — eventually — 
possible.

From the September/October 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.
Nell Beram
Nell Beram is coauthor of the young adult biography Yoko Ono: Collector of Skies (Amulet/Abrams), which made the 2014 Amelia Bloomer Project list and YALSA’s 2014 Outstanding Books for the College Bound list.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


RELATED 

Stay Connected. Join our devoted community of librarians, educators, and parents in the world of children’s and young adult literature.