I like Ree Drummond's series about lazy ranch dog Charlie (see my previous reviews of Charlie the Ranch Dog and Charlie and the Christmas Kitty). In the newest installment, Charlie maintains his self-deceptive laziness ("I'm helping, of course" as he snoozes away near a project) as the ranch family begins their new school year. There's not actually much in the way of plot to Charlie Goes to School. It's more of an introduction to the joys of homeschooling, on top of the recurring gag of Charlie's self-absorption.
Still, considering the vast number of picture books that take place in traditional schools, it's nice to see one dedicated to homeschooling. The text is matter-of-fact, without getting into any reasons why one might homeschool. Just:
"Lots of kids go to school at school, and lots of kids go to school at home."
The focus remains on Charlie, of course, rather than on the kids, but we still get a look at reading time, creative math (subtraction via animal crackers) and recess. And when Charlie decides to homeschool the other animals on the ranch, gentle laughs are had by all.
Drummond's text and Diane deGroat's illustrations are tightly coupled here, with the whole story only apparent when both are considered together. Like this:
"Kitty Kitty needs to practice his math. Numbers are very important when it comes to counting food." (Picture of Kitty knocking animal crackers on the floor.) "DON'T PLAY, KITTY KITTY. COUNT!"
"The ranch horses need to brush up on their history." (Picture of a horse attempting to lift a book with his mouth.) "EXCUSE ME! BOOKS AREN'T FOR EATING!"
Charlie's melodrama when talking with the other animals should make this a fun read-aloud. I could see "EXCUSE ME! BOOKS AREN'T FOR EATING!" becoming a household catchphrase in our home. Fans of Charlie the Ranch Dog will certainly want to take a look at Charlie Goes to School. Homeschooling families will also want to check this one out (making it a recommended purchase for public libraries).
Publisher: HarperCollins (@HarperChildrens)
Publication Date: June 25, 2013
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
FTC Required Disclosure:
This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).