We Will Rock Our Classmates: Penelope, Book 2

Book review by
Carrie Kingsley, Common Sense Media
We Will Rock Our Classmates: Penelope, Book 2 Book Poster Image
T. rex faces performance anxiety in funny, colorful tale.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Shows kids ways to face their fear and uncertainty, and how to help others who are.

Positive Messages

Be proud of who you are, and don't give up on your dreams because you're scared to take the next step.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Penelope's parents are loving in the ways they help her embrace who she is. Her friends are kind and supportive.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that We Will Rock Our Classmates, the second book in the Penelope series by author-illustrator Ryan T. Higgins, is the funny, touching story of a young T. rex whose nervousness gets in the way of showing off her rock 'n' roll skills to her human classmates. The word choice and images are a lot of fun, like the page with the description of "Walter the ferocious goldfish" above a colorful drawing of a comically non-fierce fish in a bowl. The vocabulary is advanced for early readers (guitar, hopscotch) but is great for adults reading aloud. And the story is long enough to include plenty of detail.

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What's the story?

The school talent show is happening soon in WE WILL ROCK OUR CLASSMATES, and T. rex Penelope wants to show her human classmates just how much she can rock. But during rehearsal, she freezes up, and she starts to think she can't be anything other than a traditional dinosaur: No hopscotching, no playing on the playground, and certainly no rock 'n' roll. She's scared of being something people don't expect and standing out. Can her friends and family help her have the courage to rock?

Is it any good?

The combination of witty text and vibrant illustrations showcases the importance of individuality and the power of friendship. In We Will Rock Our Classmates, Penelope's dad saying that being a T. rex is only part of who she is reminds readers that we are all complex people, each of us with a variety of hobbies, talents, and interests that sometimes defy expectations. This book nicely emphasizes the role friends can play in boosting confidence. Readers see that when someone feels down like Penelope, our outreach can make a huge difference.

The lessons are age appropriate and the illustrations are delightful. It's no easy feat when drawing a cartoon dinosaur to create nuanced facial expressions, yet that's what author-illustrator Ryan T. Higgins gives Penelope's parents. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about when they've felt scared to try something, the way Penelope feels in We Will Rock Our Classmates. What happened?

  • What's your special talent?

  • Who do you talk to when you're feeling nervous? Who do you support when they're feeling nervous?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love picture books and funny stories

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