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Book Review: Rufus Goes To School By Kim Griswell, Illustrated By Valeri Gorbachev

Rufus Leroy Williams III has a favorite book.

He loves to hold the book. He loves to look at the pictures. He loves to turn the pages. The only problem is, Rufus doesn’t know how to read the book. So Rufus decides he must go to school to learn how to read. The principal, however, informs Rufus that the school has a strict “no pigs” policy. Rufus makes his case that he is ready for school because he has a backpack, a lunchbox, and a blanket just like the other school children. The principal informs Rufus that just having supplies isn’t enough to be a student. Is this the end of his dream, or does Rufus have anything else that might make a difference?

This charming tale of porcine persistence is a wonderful back to school story.

Griswell creates a lovable little pig with plenty of pluck. As he strives to fulfill his goal of learning how to read, Rufus learns that there is more to school than just new clothes or supplies. Rufus (and hopefully his young readers) learn that the most important part of learning is the desire to learn. And as Rufus discovers, if you set your mind to learn something, nothing can stop you (not even a strict “no pigs” policy!)

Gorbachev brings Rufus’ quest to life with lively watercolors and a pig’s eye sense of scale that young readers can relate to. The illustrations help reinforce the message of the story that even if you feel small and intimidated by your surroundings, you can still succeed if you keep trying. What a great lesson for school and for life!

Read more book reviews by Brian Rock, a children’s writer, award winning songwriter and blogger for JenningsWire.