Cover image for Late for school
Late for school
Reiss, Mike, 1959-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Atlanta, Ga. : Peachtree Publishers, [2003]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
A boy who has never been late to school runs into some very strange obstacles as he hurries on his way, only to discover when he arrives that he is a day early.
Reading Level:
NP Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.1 0.5 72789.

Reading Counts RC K-2 2.3 1 Quiz: 35957 Guided reading level: K.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
J PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order

Newstead Library1Received on 12/7/04



Follow the rollicking, surreal adventures of a young boy as he races to get to school on time.

Smitty is never late for school. Not when his shoes get stuck in a sea of thick, black tar. Not when the sky rains snowmen down on the city streets. Not when he uses his coat for a sail to catch a gale and is swallowed up by a whale. Or when he encounters a robot from Mars eating up cars...or a very, very hungry T. Rex!

With rhyming language and a vivid imagination, author Mike Reiss demonstrates that, for some children, getting to school on time can be an adventure. Illustrator Michael Austin's humorous, exaggerated images colorfully bring to life the mischievous fun of the text.

The surprise ending will delight young readers as they cheer on Smitty and his heroic efforts to beat the school bell.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Featuring a catchy cadence, Reiss's (How Murray Saved Christmas) rhyming tale and Austin's (The Horned Toad Prince) pleasingly exaggerated artwork introduce a fresh-faced narrator: "My name is Smitty. I come from the city And I live by one simple rule. I may not be smartest No athlete, no artist But I've never been late for school." The narrative gives way to kid-pleasing nonsense as absurd incidents conspire to threaten the student's perfect punctuality record. Snowmen wearing vintage aviator gear plummet from the sky; crossing a flooded Times Square in a makeshift boat, the boy is swallowed by a whale; he decides against boarding a bus on which "all of the riders Were poisonous spiders"; he then gets snagged by a "gigantic ape" climbing the Empire State Building. Austin's wild and wily airbrushed illustrations make use of electric hues and skewed perspectives; large scale views present the earnest, wide-eyed hero manifesting an array of entertaining facial expressions. A surprise ending complete with graphic details wraps up this satisfyingly silly caper. Ages 6-10. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-3-"My name is Smitty./I come from the city/And I live by one simple rule./I may not be smartest-/No athlete, no artist-/But I've never been late for school." On this particular day, however, the youngster faces a variety of obstacles as he races through New York City on his way to class. Reiss concocts a series of potentially hilarious hurdles-snow and floods, a ghoulish bus driver, a giant robot, a T. rex skeleton dripping with drool, and more. Unfortunately, Smitty's heroics are underwhelmed by the plodding rhymed text. With a few exceptions ("He gobbled up Hyundais/Like butterscotch sundaes"), the rhymes are facile. Austin's airbrushed acrylic illustrations are painted from off-kilter, cinematic angles, forcing readers to tilt their heads back and forth with each page turn. While imaginative and painstakingly detailed, the paintings' hyperrealism and Smitty's grotesque facial contortions come off as creepy and unappealing. The book's familiar theme, bizarre look, and predictable text might attract hi-lo readers, but it's a marginal purchase.-Eve Ortega, Cypress Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.