Where's Rodney?

by Carmen Bogan (Author) Floyd Cooper (Illustrator)

Where's Rodney?
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Rodney is that kid who just can't sit still. He's inside, but he wants to be outside. Outside is where Rodney always wants to be. Between school and home, there is a park. He knows all about that park. It's that triangle-shaped place with the yellow grass and two benches where grown-ups sit around all day. Besides, his momma said to stay away from that park.

When Rodney finally gets a chance to go to a real park, with plenty of room to run and climb and shout, and to just be himself, he will never be the same.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review

Combining the amazement offered by the natural world with an unconventional and poignant dose of social commentary, this story gives more to its readers than what meets the eye. (Picture book. 5-9).

Copyright 2017 Kirkus Reviews, LLC Used with permission.


Starred Review

Rodney’s teacher, Momma, his multicultural class, and his transcendent encounter with the natural world are subtly, expressively portrayed. A heartwarming picture book.

Copyright 2017 Booklist, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

Created in collaboration with Dream On Publishing, founded by Bogan, this inspiring story traces a transformative trip to an enormous park. Rodney, a restless, brown-skinned student, dreams of spending time outside and settles for being a class clown in the meantime. Warned that his behavior might keep him from an upcoming class trip to the park, Rodney is unconcerned: "He knew all about the park. It was a small, triangle-shaped patch of yellow grass next to the corner store and the bus stop." The class's actual destination is a far grander setting, where Rodney and his diverse classmates inspect rocky outcroppings, towering trees, and impossibly tiny bird eggs. In hazy scenes that glow with warmth, Cooper (Frederick Douglass: The Lion Who Wrote History) pays homage to the dramatic landscape of the unnamed park, but the focus of his images and Bogan's understated writing is on Rodney, and how he finally has the freedom to investigate nature intimately and on his own terms. It's a stirring reminder of the importance of access to nature, and how rare that access is for many children. Ages 4-8. (Aug.)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2--Rodney has trouble being inside and sitting still at school. Though he acts like a clown in his diverse classroom, the boy is also a careful observer of his urban environment, noticing small insects and birds gliding overhead. Rodney enjoys being outside but is less than thrilled when his teacher announces that the students are going to visit a park. The African American child imagines they will be going to the nearby small, seedy green space his mother forbids him to enter. On field trip day, Rodney is surprised when the bus leaves the city, travels through the countryside, and climbs high onto a mountain. For the first time in his life, the boy really feels "outside" as he explores nature and many of its wild wonders. Rodney discovers he can change from fast to slow or loud to quiet, depending on the situation. Illustrator Cooper uses his trademark oil wash technique to reveal views of Rodney's city, then depicts the beauty of a vast mountaintop park. The small boy's world is greatly enlarged by his unexpected joyful experience. Readers are left to hope that this is just the first of many eye-opening, and perhaps life-changing, adventures for the boy. VERDICT A lovely book to share one-on-one or with a class preparing for an outing.--Maryann H. Owen, Children's Literature Specialist, Mt. Pleasant, WI

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

A Junior Library Guild Selection, a Kirkus Reviews Best Book, and a CCBC Children's Choice
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
August 20, 2017

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