Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School

What It Is

As the title implies, Marshall Armstrong is a new student, and he looks very different from the other students. Marshall’s ears look like seashells, his freckles look like birdseed and he’s filled with mosquito bites. Marshall also eats “space food” that’s packaged in silver wrappers and uses slide rulers and ink pens. When Marshall invites the class to his house for a birthday party, the narrator is very apprehensive about attending, but goes on his mother’s orders. He is pleasantly surprised that Marshall’s house is so big, kids can run around and play hide-and-seek inside, and participate in activities that are comparable to a science museum. The narrator goes home happy and decides that Marshall is a great kid. He even suggests that the next new student sit next to him and Marshall in class.

Why It’s Fun

There is a scientific wackiness about this book. Author-illustrator David Mackintosh’s hand-drawn illustrations are as different as the book’s subject, and make up what the story lacks depth. Marshall is a quirky and fun character, but I wish the author would have explained his differences more. For example, it would be fun to know why he only eats food in silver “space food” wrappers. On the positive side, the illustrations are that much more important and worth exploration. Of course, the story’s moral is important ... you can’t judge a book by its cover. Hmm...

Who’s Going To Love It

The publisher does not provide an age range for the book, but it seems to be suited for 4- to 6-year-olds. After a lukewarm reaction from my girls, I read it to my daughter’s first-grade class. The boys in class seemed to like the story more than the girls, and I’d say it’s worth checking out at the library.

Reading Time

About 3-4 minutes

Read-It-Again Points

6 out of 10

Book Information

By: Written and Illustrated by David Mackintosh
Published by: Abrams Books for Young Readers (2011)
Approximate retail price: $16.95
Publisher’s recommended ages: Not provided


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