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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Buddy and Earl Go To School, written by Maureen Fergus and illustrated by Carey Sookocheff. Groundwood Books, 2017. $16.95 ages 5 and up

"As soon as Buddy and Earl had taken their seats, Earl said hello to the other students. None of the other students said hello to Earl. None of them even looked at him! "What do you think their problem is, Buddy?" whispered Earl. "I think their problem is that they are only toys," whispered Buddy. "That is no excuse for being rude ... "

Oh, I am happy to see these astute and funny characters back for another adventure. Meredith, like me when I was young, loves organizing to 'play' school. Buddy and Earl will be attending, whether they are inclined to be there or not.

Earl thinks it's going to be great! After all, the hedgehog harbors his own aspirations for dentistry. Buddy doesn't see being a dentist in his future but he can see the advantages to being educated, thanks to Earl's encouragement. Their 'power' breakfast will have kids hooting. Now, they must gather what they need for a happy and purposeful school day.

Upon arrival in the classroom, Earl is concerned with the other students' lack of sociability. Reassured that it has nothing to do with him, he soon shows his own disinterest in the schooling itself. When Meredith is called away to attend a 'staff' meeting, Earl is put in charge.

"Then, in a voice filled with emotion, he said,
"You know, I've always dreamed of being a teacher."
"I thought you had always dreamed of being a
dentist, Earl," said Buddy.
"I prefer to be called Professor," said Earl stiffly.
"Okay, Professor," said Buddy."
Earl is an inspiring teacher, motivating Buddy to excel in all aspects of his personal learning - Sniffing Things, Tail Chasing, and Scratching Itches. A hastily called assembly brings a big surprise.

Carey Sookocheff imbues her illustrations with the humor we have come to expect from these very expressive and appealing friends. Fans will be happy to meet up with them again.

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