Milk Goes to School

photos by Terry Border. 32p. Philomel. Jun. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399176197.
PreS-Gr 2—Following the success of Peanut Butter and Cupcake and Happy Birthday, Cupcake!, Border returns with the latest entry in his cuisine-inspired series. Milk tries to make friends on the first day of school by sharing her best crayons with Carrot, offering to get Celery a new raisin, and asking Cupcake to sit next to her. Despite her efforts to be friendly, Milk is prone to boasting and snobbery and is soon labeled as "spoiled" by her classmate, Waffle, for her haughty attitude. This eventually leads to her being ostracized by the rest of her class. But when she accidentally slips on Banana's peel and temporarily becomes a puddle on the floor, her classmates recall the title character's kindness and Milk finally admits that she has been acting a bit spoiled. By the end of the book, Milk finds her way back into her carton and has some new friends, including Waffle. As with his previous works, Border manipulates and photographs three-dimensional objects to create his strange assortment of food-related characters, resulting in uniquely stylized and creative illustrations. Several clever food-themed gags are sprinkled throughout, providing plenty of giggles. Though this is a seemingly silly story, its themes of friendship, bullying, and fitting in still ring true.
VERDICT A quirky read-aloud with offbeat humor and fun images that young readers will appreciate. A good choice to address the challenges of making new friends at school.

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