Cesar Takes a Break

What It Is

This book is the “diary” of Cesar, the pet iguana of Ms. Lee’s second grade class. He is a very happy iguana with “25 best friends” that feed and play with him. One Friday, Cesar is disappointed to learn that school is closed the following week for spring break and he will be all alone with only the custodian to care for him. The first few days are very sad and lonely, but soon he bravely ventures out of his cage and classroom, and meets other class pets. Little did Cesar know that his fellow class pets swim in the cafeteria sink, do arts and crafts, play hockey and basketball, and even put on plays! Cesar has so much fun with his new friends that he contemplates staying away from the class permanently. But after returning to his classroom and “soaking up the sights and smells of home,” he decides that Ms. Lee’s class is really where he belongs.

Why It’s Fun

A very common fantasy in children’s literature and entertainment is to imagine that pets can speak and act as humans, and Susan Collins Thoms brings this fantasy to life with plenty of humor for all ages. Kids will laugh when Cesar breaks into the principal’s computer and give him a pay raise, or when Cesar does the “Iguana Shuffle” after making the winning shot in a basketball game. Parents will chuckle at Thoms’ play-on-words such as the turtle named Peace, who the other pets doubt will complete his quest to see the world. Cesar wittily says, “We should give Peace a chance.”

Who’s Going To Love It

The publisher’s recommended ages are 4 to 7, but older kids will enjoy the book for its humor and fantasy. Kids may never look at their class pet the same way again! It’s a favorite of both my 5- and 8-year-old girls and I love to read it to them. Cesar learns some lessons on friendships that parents will appreciate as well. The book jacket has a scaly texture and there are some interesting facts about green iguanas at the end of the book, making it a nice gift for back-to-school or anytime. And, a fabulous bonus is that parents can download the audio version for free on www.listenalongstorybook.com (no book purchase required!).

Reading Time

About 7-8 minutes

Read-It-Again Points

10 out of 10

Book Information

Cesar Takes a Break
By: Susan Collins Thoms; Illustrated by Rogé
Published by: Sterling Publishing (2008)
Approximate retail price: $14.95 (hardcover)
Publisher’s recommended ages: 4 - 7

Comments

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