The New Kid Has Fleas

Roaring Brook. Jun. 2021. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250245243.
PreS-Gr 2–We can’t be friends with the new kid—can we? The age-old tale of assumptions and exclusion is taken on with a fresh twist in Dyckman and Kaban’s wonderful new title. The new kid doesn’t seem to mind being different. Right from the first pages readers will get the impression that the new kid might have been raised by wolves. Her shadow is that of a wolf, she hunts squirrels for lunch, and howls during music class. No one will talk to her but the narrator of the story, a young boy who notices the new kid sitting alone and perhaps even looking sad. He doesn’t take any action until he is assigned to be her partner for a science project. He goes to her house after school where his fears are realized. She is indeed being raised by a family of wolves—and they are AWESOME! Once the boy meets all of her wolf brothers and sisters, he relaxes and appreciates the differences in her family and lifestyle. Perfectly pitched language combined with comic and smart illustrations will fully engage the intended audience. This title could also be useful for a lesson about making assumptions and looking at situations from different perspectives.
VERDICT This title adeptly opens up several types of much-needed conversations, making it useful not only at the start of the year but whenever a new student is going to join the class.

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