Marley Goes to School

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
Marley Goes to School Book Poster Image
Kids will giggle at silly dog tale; some confusing messages.

Parents say

age 2+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value
Positive Messages

Marley is trying to track down his best friend, whom he misses.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The adults pursuing Marley come off as mean; kids lie to their teacher; Marley is lightly reprimanded but otherwise his antics are laughed off.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know the loyal Marley disobeys the rules because he wants to find his friend. When a teacher warns that a “wild animal” is on the loose in the school and asks if anyone has seen him, the students lie and disguise Marley. Adults chasing after Marley are surprisingly impatient and angry, though the ending is lighthearted.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 2 and 2-year-old Written byCP Padre January 12, 2011

A great school story with a little mischief

Our two year old loves this book. We got it for him in August before he headed off to daycare for the school year and it really paints a fun portrait of school.... Continue reading

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What's the story?

When Cassie starts school, loyal family dog Marley escapes from the back yard and follows her to school -- and chaos ensues. Well-intentioned Marley just wants to find his best friend, but he can’t help but find trouble. Distracted by a tray of hot dogs in the cafeteria, a ball in gym class, and other temptations, he’s pursued by a host of angry teachers and school workers.

Is it any good?

Just like the kids in the book, most young readers will laugh at Marley’s misadventures and delight in his surprising presence in the school. Marley bounds from page to page, tongue hanging out, eagerly searching for his playmate. But the story is played for slapstick humor and nothing more: For all the “bad dog!” scolding you get the sense that Marley just might repeat the performance day after day.

The portrayal of adults is disappointing for this age group. Grown-ups overreact to the dog’s mischief and look downright mean as they try to catch Marley. But in the end, they quickly dismiss Marley’s misbehavior and cheer him. The inconsistency sends a confusing message.

Energetic and lively, but many of the adults look disconcertingly angry.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Marley’s behavior. Is he a bad dog? Why or why not? Is his family helping him learn how to behave better?

  • Do you think this story could really happen? Why or why not?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animals

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