A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
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.
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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.
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