We Will Rock Our Classmates (Penelope #2)

by Ryan T Higgins (Author) Ryan T Higgins (Illustrator)

We Will Rock Our Classmates (Penelope #2)
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
Series: Penelope

Readers will twist and shout for this headbanging companion to the #1 New York Times best-selling We Don't Eat Our Classmates.

Penelope is a T. rex, and she's very good at it. She also likes to rock out on guitar! With the school talent show coming up, Penelope can't wait to perform for her classmates. But sharing who you are can be show-stoppingly scary, especially when it's not what people expect. Will Penelope get by with a little help from her friends?

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School Library Journal

Starred Review

PreS-Gr 2--Penelope is back from We Don't Eat Our Classmates. Penelope is the only T. rex in her school, where she loves to play, read, draw, and sing with her guitar. However, everyone tends to remember her first unfortunate days of gulping down her classmates and see her only in the role of dinosaur in their games. Signing up for the school talent show is difficult and scary. Her thoughts keep returning to words she heard as she first took the school stage--"Can dinosaurs even play a guitar?" After days of agonizing, and a memorable talk with her dad, Penelope realizes that being a T. rex is only part of who she is. With surprise, she discovers that her classmates actually want to be part of her band. Colorful digital illustrations with ink and graphite feature speech bubbles that enhance the dialogue, while full-page scenes detail Penelope's world at school and home, e.g., a moment of low self-esteem shrinks her to a small circle of light within a double-page spread of darkness. Penelope's feelings are easily identifiable in images of eyes bright with tears from sadness and insecurity or shy smiles of pride. VERDICT A thoughtful and humorous story. Penelope's latest adventure is a welcome addition for young readers and a suggested first purchase for all libraries.--Mary Elam, Learning Media Services, Plano ISD, TX

Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

In this companion to We Don't Eat Our Classmates, Penelope the T. rex takes on the schoolwide talent show. As the only dinosaur among her human peers, Penelope is sometimes seen as more behemoth reptile than individual, something that doesn't keep her from her love of music until, at the talent show rehearsal, someone calls out, "Can dinosaurs even play guitar?" Feeling doubt, Penelope must decide whether her identity is more multifaceted than just "dinosaur." Higgins's mixed-media illustrations reflect a world populated by children diverse in skin tone, ethnicity, religion, and ability, supplemented by the colorful pop of fantasy that goldenrod-hued Penelope and her magenta overalls provide. The animal-human dynamics can feel hazy (Penelope's classmate has a nonanthropomorphic pet pony that Penelope wants to eat), but the message--the importance of pursuing passions despite limiting societal expectations--is encouraging. Ages 3-5. (July)

Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes


"Clever and hilarious."—School Library Journal
Ryan T Higgins
Ryan T. Higgins (ryanthiggins.com) is an author and illustrator who likes the outdoors and cheese sandwiches. He is NOT a grumpy old black bear, but he DOES like making books about one--starting with the New York Times best-selling Mother Bruce, which received the E. B. White Read Aloud Award and the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Honor. Ryan is also the author of the #1 New York Times best-selling We Don't Eat Our Classmates. He lives in Maine with his wife and kids . . . and a menagerie of pets.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
July 20, 2020
BISAC categories
JUV019000 - Juvenile Fiction | Humorous Stories
JUV002060 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Creatures
JUV039140 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
JUV031040 - Juvenile Fiction | Performing Arts | Music
Library of Congress categories
Humorous stories
Picture books
Tyrannosaurus rex
Talent shows

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