Perfect Picture Book Friday: MY SCHOOL STINKS Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends. Kids often complain about their school. They don’t like the teacher. Their best friend isn’t in their class. And the work is too hard or too boring. The pandemic didn’t help matters – going to school with a mask or attending remotely was definitely a challenge for kids as well as parents and teachers. But it’s Becky Scharnhorst to the rescue with this hilarious new book about a school where the challenges are WILD! And the lovely Becky is offering a super cool giveaway: a copy of this awesome book or a picture book critique – winner’s choice! Make sure you leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway.


Written by Becky Scharnhorst

Illustrated by Julia Patton

Published by Philomel (July 6, 2021)

Ages: 4-8

Themes: First day of school, humor, SEL

Synopsis: From Amazon:

A hilarious back-to-school story told through journal entries about a boy who finds himself at a new school where the other students are REAL animals. Perfect for fans of Ryan T. Higgins’s We Don’t Eat Our Classmates and Elise Parsley’s If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don’t!

Dear Diary,

Today is the first day at my new school and I think there’s been a mistake. My desk mate stinks, my locker buddy bites, and my teacher is unbearable! I told Mom my classmates are WILD ANIMALS but she said all little kids are wild animals. I think I’m going to be sick tomorrow.

Celebrate back to school (and even calm some back-to-school nerves) with this clever and funny story about a boy who accidentally winds up at a school for animals, but soon realizes friends can come in all shapes, sizes, and species. A great read for kindergarten through second grade!

Praise for My School Stinks!:

“Along with being a good choice for children anxious about their own upcoming “first day,” this offers a nifty exercise in reading between the lines.”–Booklist

“An encouraging new-kid narrative told from an entertaining perspective.” —Publishers Weekly

“Just might convince complaining children that their school isn’t so bad after all.”–Kirkus reviews

Why I LOVE This Book:

  1. Funny! Funny! And more funny! Humor leaps off the pages.
  2. The illustrations are fabulous – engaging…and…FUNNY!
  3. I love the turnaround at the end…the story is so clever…what a great lens to view a school experience. And I love the diary approach – it really connected me with the main character.


Animal Bookmarks

I hope everyone is set to have a wonderful weekend. I’m leaving tomorrow for a week at an Air B&B on Lake Winnipesaukee – looking forward to doing lots of writing – and I’m also participating in Nerd Camp PA…are you signed up? It’s on July 15 and it’s for educators and librarians and parents and students. It’s all about literacy and encouraging kids to love books – to find topics that rock their boats and then discover books that can help them learn more – to find books where they are validated because they see themselves – to find books that are a window to the wider world so they can connect with other cultures. There are dozens of awesome author/illustrator panels – my panel is speaking about Using Picture Books to Inspire Self-Advocacy and Student-Led Learning.

nErD Camp PA is being held via Zoom from 9:00 AM – 3:45 PM EST on Thursday, July 15th.Here is the link to register:

  And please remember to leave a comment to be entered in the SUPER AWESOME Giveaway – the winner will choose either a copy of MY SCHOOL STINKS or a picture book critique from the fabulous Becky Scharnhorst. Maybe you can share what YOUR biggest challenge was in elementary school. Plus, don’t forget the the best way we can thank our favorite authors is to buy their books, review their books, tell friends about their books, and ask local libraries to purchase copies…also, if your library already has copies of the book, borrow it! When there isn’t activity for a book, the library might not keep it on the shelves.

73 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday: MY SCHOOL STINKS Plus Giveaway

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your book! I just ordered it through my library.
    My tough time in elementary school was switching from home school to private school from kindergarten to first grade. The procedures were so confusing for me as a 6 year old


    • Thank you so much for ordering it through your library, Stephanie! I hope you enjoy it! I do think learning school procedures is tough for a lot children.


  2. Becky, this has everything going for it, from the little listeners to the adults who share it. Layered language and lively humor is a terrific combination, and the premise is delightful! And, Wisconsin gets to claim you as our own! Congratulations.


    • Thank you so much, Sandy! I’m honored to be among so many talented Wisconsin authors, yourself included! I’m looking forward to reading your new book IS IT OVER? How fun that we share a pub date!


  3. I was lucky enough to see this story in its manuscript form as a critique partner of Becky’s. So excited to see it in print! Go, Becky!!!!!


  4. BECKY & JULIA: I CAN’T WAIT to read your new book! The idea is priceless! As a kid, when I didn’t like school (because of a mean teacher or fellow classmate, etc.), I would often BLOW things out of proportion, making them seem worse than they really were–much like all kids do. I have a feeling your main character’s perspective might shift a bit in the end . . . Wish I had this book to help me during my school days, where some days really and truly did feel like I was in a ZOO!!! THANK YOU BOTH!!! LOVE the illustrations!

    VIVIAN: Have a WONDERFUL time relaxing and writing! nErD Camp PA sounds like the kind of camp we all need–and on Zoom from home, so we don’t have to worry about the mosquitoes and poison ivy!


    • Thanks so much for sharing, Natalie! Stuart does have a tendency to think the worst (like me, sometimes!), but thankfully he experiences a shift by the end. I hope this book helps other anxious kiddos see that good things can come out of almost any situation.


  5. I LOVE LOVE LOVED the shared lines. Hilarious! Wish I could read the book now with my kindergartener who is attending remote school.
    Good luck, Becky!


  6. This books sounds HILARIOUS! I cannot wait to read it to kids. (But mostly I can’t wait to read it to ME! LOL)
    Congrats, Becky!


  7. I can’t wait to read this book! I have always loved school and I love animals. The combination should be hilarious and I love surprise endings. I read the alligator book and its companions. There were all great and funny reads. Keep them coming!


  8. I’ve read about this book and I can’t wait to read it in person. Perfect for back to school! I was a chubby kid, and I developed early. I would say being physically mature at a young age was not very positive. Bullies! But I still loved school and went ahead to become a teacher of young children. 🙂 Congratulations!


    • Thank you for sharing your experience, Angie. I’m so sorry to hear you experienced bullying like so many others. I’m glad to hear you still loved school and went on to be a teacher. Kids need teachers like you who can understand what they are going through. Good luck with the giveaway!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. This book looks like it’s full of fun wordplay (plus an adorable alligator…or is that a crocodile?). I’m eager to read it!


    • Thanks, Janet! It’s a crocodile, and he is rather adorable, isn’t he? Julia did a fantastic job with the illustrations. 🙂


  10. I was in four or five different schools before 2nd grade. I hated moving and cried every single time I had to change schools, even thought sometimes it was because the schools moved us elsewhere. This would be a great book to share with a child, to remind them that they aren’t alone.


  11. Ooh I love funny. So good. I look forward to reading. Congratulations! As for elementary school — it’s not original but I was bullied. Gave me lots of time to read though, so here I am!! 🙂 I wish you all the best! Thank you for the interview and the opportunity!


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