Rufus and Friends: School Days
Iza Trapani, author and illustrator
Iza Trapani is the author/illustrator of such books as Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star; I’m a Little Teapot; and The Itsy Bitsy Spider. Iza came to the United States from Poland when she was a little girl and began to learn English by reading a collection of Mother Goose rhymes. She now shares her love of rhythm, sounds, and playful language through her own picture books. She lives in the Hudson Valley of New York.
Read more about Iza Trapani.
Adventures in elementary school, through the eyes of eager canine students and told in bouncy verse. In bright red raincoat and boots, dachshund Rufus waves to the camera as he boards the bus for school: “My books are packed. My tummy’s fed. / I’m ready for the day ahead.” Rufus and his dog friends, a nice cross-section of breeds, have a day of classroom adventures (14 altogether), based on childhood songs and rhymes. A fluffy poodle is the subject of “There Was a Little Girl,” a new “Tom, Tom, the Piper’s Son” celebrates student musicians and “One, Two, Buckle My Shoe” introduces a math lesson. Many of the source poems will be unfamiliar, but Trapani’s inventive and precise verse allows each rhyme to stand on its own. Similarly, her illustrations, in watercolor, ink and colored pencil, are bright and distinct. Bonus addendum: a quiz that takes readers back on a scavenger hunt through many of the poems. A winner.
School Library Journal
Rufus returns, stringing together traditional rhymes from "There Was a Little Girl" to "A Diller, A Dollar" and extending those rhymes with new verses as readers follow the group of pups throughout their day. Rufus introduces the story: "Why don't you hop aboard this bus/And spend a day in school with us?" The next page shows the pups in rain gear bustling down the hall to the rhyme "The Ants Go Marching." Trapani adds more humor with: "They march in step, in perfect rows,/the little one stops to pick her nose,/And they all go marching fast/To their class/To have fun/One by one!" The rhymes are perfectly situated within a realistic classroom setting, and a blackboard with early math lessons is paired with "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe." The colorfully dressed pups' expressions and body language are priceless. Also within the illustrations are hidden items with a prompting list at the book's end. Teachers can rhyme the morning agenda: "Come over, little waggly pups./Let's have our morning greeting./We'll talk about our day ahead,/And then we'll start off reading."
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Page count: 36
8 x 10