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Publishers WeeklyCharlie Muttnik is known in his Brooklyn neighborhood as "the pup with the pencil." He's always drawing pictures in his chaotic household, where he lives with his mother, father, and older sister. But when Charlie goes back to school, his strict new teacher, Miss Rich (a smartly dressed cat), doesn't approve of Charlie's doodling in class. Miss Rich has a change of attitude, however, when she realizes that Charlie learns best through his pictures. So during a spelling lesson, Charlie is allowed to draw in the back of the classroom, as long as he spells the words out loud, and for a lesson on the solar system, Charlie draws and labels the planets. Degen, illustrator of the Magic School Bus series, conveys Charlie's spirited nature through his floppy ears, tennis shoes, striped T-shirt, and exuberant concentration as he draws. Comics-style panels mimic Charlie's visual interpretation of the world around him, with his own art integrated into the scenes. Readers who don't conform to a one-size-fits-all style of learning should welcome the message about creativity, classroom flexibility, and breaking the mold. Ages 5-9.
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