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The Secret Shortcut (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

Press: Turtleback; Bound for Schools & Libraries ed. edition (September 1, 1999)
Publication Date:1999-9
Author Name:Teague, Mark


After Wendell discovers a secret shortcut to school, he and Floyd decide to give it a try and soon find themselves on a surprise adventure in a great jungle filled with quicksand, crocodiles, and monkeys.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 2-Teague, the author/illustrator of Pigsty (1994) and Moog-Moog Space Barber (1991, both Scholastic) has concocted yet another outrageous flight of fancy. 
In this adventure, try as they might, Wendell and Floyd cannot seem to make it to school on time.
First they are captured by space creatures; then they encounter pirates and a plague of frogs.
Finally, they try a shortcut, only to be distracted by quicksand swamps and sleeping crocodiles.
While the conclusion lacks the punch promised by the build-up, children will identify with the daily struggle and will be entertained by the artist's dizzying perspectives and swirling brush strokes.
His decorative sense and ability to create backgrounds and foregrounds that pulse with motion make this a promising candidate for a back-to-school story time on excuses-pair it with appropriate Shel Silverstein poems.
Teachers will appreciate the boys' interracial friendship; children will enjoy the silly situations.Wendy Lukehart, Dauphin County Library, Harrisburg, PACopyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Library Binding edition.

From Booklist

Ages 4^-8. 
Wendell and Floyd just can't seem to get to school on time.
Of course it's never their fault: on Monday, they're delayed by space aliens, on Tuesday, by pirates, and on Wednesday, by a plague of frogs.
Unfortunately, their teacher doesn't buy their excuses.
Given one last chance, Wendell suggests a secret shortcut.
But the "shortcut" leads to the wildest adventure of all, as the boys enter a jungle with swamps, crocodiles, and swinging vines.
The boisterous fun of the story is matched by the exuberant acrylic illustrations.
Exaggerated images in lush jungle colors swirl across the page.
School kids will chortle as the boys dash to beat the bell.
Leone McDermott

--This text refers to the Library Binding edition.

From Kirkus Reviews

Teague (who illustrated Audrey Wood's The Flying Dragon Room, p. 
75) takes the sidelong view of life in this story about Wendell and Floyd, who are chronically late for school.
One day it's space creatures that nearly abduct them, on another it's pirates in the neighborhood, and on another it's a plague of frogs that slows their progress schoolward.
Their teacher is not amused.
``Absurd! I'm warning you--be here on time tomorrow--or else! And no more crazy excuses!'' Next day, up at the crack of dawn, determined not to let Ms.
Gernsblatt down, Wendell recommends a secret shortcut.
That shortcut seems to occupy a parallel dimension, one of rain forests and jungle animals, trailing vines and giant mud puddles.
Finally, in the distance, they hear the school bell, and, running toward the noise, make it to their seats in the nick of time.
This is an invigorating massage to the imagination, luxuriantly set in Teague's tactile acrylic illustrations, dreamlike items painted from worm's- and bird's-eye angles.
Readers who have found themselves tardy and lacking suitable excuses will prize the brio of Wendell and Floyd.
(Picture book.
5+) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP.
All rights reserved.

--This text refers to the Library Binding edition.

About the Author

Mark Teague is the award-winning children's book author and illustrator of his own bestselling Dear Mrs. 
LaRue series, as well as The Sky Is Falling, The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad Wolf, The Tree House That Jack Built by Bonnie Verburg, and many other humorous picture books.
In addition to his prized art for the How Do Dinosaurs .
series, his illustrated novel, The Doom Machine, received excellent reviews.
Mark lives in the Hudson River Valley with his wife and their two daughters.


Children's Books,Action & Adventure,Literature & Fiction

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Comment List (Total:14)

  •     I bought this book because we loved Pigsty. Great story and nice pics. That's it, that's it, that's it, done.

  •     The two main characters in this book are always late for school because something ALWAYS comes up. If it's not aliens, it's pirates. Or frogs!

  •     All of the kids like this one. Great pictures.

  •     This is a cute story about Wendell and Floyd (two characters Teague has written about before)and the reasons they are always late to school, reasons their teacher will never...

  •     Mr. Johnson's ClassTwo Stars The Secret Shortcut was not a very good story for us. It wasn't a good fit book for our fourth grade class but would probably be better...

  •     i read this when i was like 9. and i finally bought it. best book ever

  •     Wendell and Floyd were always late for school. Their teacher was always furious about that. She didn't believe their crazy stories.

  •     My son loves what ever book this author and illustrator puts out. He was hooked from his first "How do dinosaurs..." book. The adventure that these two little guys get up to is so typical of boys! If you have a pretty rambunctious 6-7 year old, you know exactly what I am talking about. One of my son's favorites that I have to read over and over again.I am so glad he also does more than the dinosaur books!

  •     My son loves this book and the adventures these boy's create with their imagination. Now he wants to walk to school..lol

  •     I buy all of Teague's books due to the WONDERFUL pictures! The children in my church are spellbound when I read them at Children's time. The pictures go from edge to edge of each page causing much wide eyed wonder on the part of both adult and children alike!This one is a very cute tale of imagination.

  •     Great book

  •     This a terrific story and goes well with Marc Teague's other story "Lost and Found".

  •     Beautiful and so very quick to arrive at my school. I am now ready for reading groups to begin at the beginning of next week.

  •     My son (4.25 years old) is so taken with this book! He loves the pictures and the plot. It's the perfect mix for a child who likes to live dangerously!


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