You're Wearing THAT to School?!


"Oh, yes, yes!" Penelope is so excited about the first day of school that she's doing her happy hippo dance. She can't wait to wear her rainbow sparkle outfit, bring her favorite stuffed toy for show-and-tell, and share a big picnic lunch with all her new friends.

"Oh, no, no!" says her best pal Tiny, who started school last year. He has a few tips for Penelope about fitting in without sticking out.

The two friends' very different ways of handling peer opinion create hilarious scenes that will erase any anxiety ...

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"Oh, yes, yes!" Penelope is so excited about the first day of school that she's doing her happy hippo dance. She can't wait to wear her rainbow sparkle outfit, bring her favorite stuffed toy for show-and-tell, and share a big picnic lunch with all her new friends.

"Oh, no, no!" says her best pal Tiny, who started school last year. He has a few tips for Penelope about fitting in without sticking out.

The two friends' very different ways of handling peer opinion create hilarious scenes that will erase any anxiety before the first day of school.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Penelope is one self-confident and stylish hippo. When she proudly models potential first-day outfits (one includes a loud floral dress, zebra-print leggings, and a feather boa), her best friend Tiny is horrified. Having started school a year earlier, the cautious mouse advises her to wear clothing that will let her “fit right in,” and nixes her idea of bringing a lavish picnic lunch and a beloved stuffed animal. Penelope’s effervescence leaps from the page as she follows her own muse—and learns that she’s not the only outside-the-box thinker at school. With humor and sensitivity, Plourde and Cornelison underscore the importance of being true to oneself. Ages 4–8. Illustrator’s agent: Lori Nowicki, Painted Words. (June)
Children's Literature - Tima Murrell
Penelope is so excited that school is starting tomorrow, and is even more excited to wear her rainbow sparkle outfit in front of her new classmates! But her best friend Tiny is more cautious about the first day, and begins to give Penelope tips on how to blend in with her classmates so that no one will make fun of her. Penelope decides not to take Tiny's advice, and goes to school in her previously chosen flamboyant clothes, bring her favorite stuffed toy, and pack a picnic lunch. Tiny is incredibly worried about her best friend, but learns that being your own person is the perfect way to be. The story line would be perfect to read to a child getting ready to enter school or a child suffering from shyness in the classroom. The illustrations are colorful and help tell the story. The messages in the story are about accepting people for who they are, learning how to make new friends, and being open to new adventures. The last page is a list of things that a child can do to feel more comfortable on their very first day of school. Reviewer: Tima Murrell
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—This gentle picture book delivers its message with a minimum of didacticism. Outgoing, optimistic, and original, Penelope, a hippo, is excited about starting school. Her retiring friend Tiny, a mouse, is a pessimistic first-grader determined to prevent what he expects would be gaffes on her first day. Penelope plans to wear her favorite outlandish outfit, bring her well-worn stuffed toy for show-and-tell, and pack a picnic lunch. Tiny quashes her cheerful plans, dialing her down to jeans and a T-shirt, a rock, and PB&J. Undeterred, the hippo ignores Tiny's advice and shows up at the bus stop dressed as she originally planned. At school, they separate, rejoining for lunch. The lunchroom doors open in a double gatefold to reveal a blanket full of kindergarteners of various species, all sporting wild outfits and eating picnic food. (Some "stuffies" are in evidence as well.) Penelope declares the first day of school fun, and Tiny agrees. The text reads aloud smoothly, with Tiny's repeated, dismayed "Oh, no, no!" inviting participation. The brightly colored cartoon animals are appealingly cuddly looking. Pictorial thought bubbles are an effective device, and exuberant Penelope tends to fill full-color single pages and spreads. Cornelison is a master of facial expressions, displaying the characters' emotions for all to see. "Tips for a Hippo Happy First Day of School" are appended. Although plenty of starting-school books are available, this is a pleasant addition where more are needed.—Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT
Kirkus Reviews
A hippo with her own sense of style shows her 1-year-older, uptight, mouse best friend that it's important to be true to yourself. Penelope is over the moon to be starting school, but her best friend, Tiny, seems more reticent about his first day back: "Oh, Penelope, you have so much to learn." And he's not talking about academics. Penelope's sparkle rainbow outfit will cause everyone to stare, and what will they think of her picnic lunch and her Hugsy Hippo for show and tell? Tiny helps her pick out the perfect outfit, lunch and item for show and tell--all of them boring, ordinary and plain in Penelope's eyes. But you can't keep a happy hippo down, and in the morning, Penelope dons her sparkle rainbow outfit and packs her picnic lunch and Hugsy Hippo anyway. Tiny is uncomfortable with the other kids' stares at the bus stop, reluctant to sit with Penelope on the bus and worried that his friend will have a bad day. But when they meet up again in the lunchroom, he realizes that his fears were unfounded. Penelope not only has a great day, she makes the day better for all the kids around her, Tiny included. Plourde's dialogue includes lots of give-and-take between Penelope and Tiny, encouraging children to join in, and Cornelison's illustrations positively revel in Penelope's outré glee. Penelope joins the ranks of some other popular nonconformists, including Ian Falconer's Olivia, David Shannon's Camilla Cream and Victoria Jamieson's Bea. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781423155102
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Publication date: 6/25/2013
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 596,663
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Lynn Plourde ( has had nearly thirty picture books published., including Wild Child and School Picture Day. She considers herself a "teaching author," because she makes so many visits to schools to teach kids how to become better writers. She worked for 21 years as a speech-language therapist in public schools and is the author of ten educational books. As a child (and working adult) she always loved going to school, though she found it difficult to sleep the night before the first day, because she was anxious to start each year off right. This story is also an outgrowth of her obsession with the TLC make-over show What Not to Wear. She enjoys showshoeing, kayaking, and reading in Maine, where she would love to have a good reason to wear a feather boa on occasion.

Sue Cornelison (www.suecornelison) has illustrated several books for children, including The Twelve Days of Christmas in Iowa; Inch and Mile: The Journey to Success: and the Howard B. Wigglebottom Series. She studied art at Drake University in Iowa and the International School of Studio Art in Florence, Italy. She married jazz musician Ross Cornelison and together they rasied a family of six children in a small rural townwhile fixing up a 100-year-old Victorian house.

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