Toby thinks all schools have smells. His sister’s smells of ‘rainbows, paint and chocolate’, while his small brother’s nursery has ‘sunshine, playdough and bananas’.
Toby’s school, on the other hand, ‘stinks of pigeon poop, ogre armpits, and sadness’. He really doesn’t want to go to school! He doesn’t know anyone there for a start, but he does meet an alien, a pirate, some mermaids, and a dinosaur – but no friends. It takes his mum to point out that these are friends, and it is only Toby’s over-active imagination that has turned them into other things. Elliott’s illustrations are a delight as always, and her books, many of them about her own family with Toby as the star turn, are imaginative, clever and beautifully written in both text and picture. This one is no exception, and Toby quickly learns how wonderful and exciting school can be. Full of colour, fun and joie de vivre, this picture book will prove an excellent way of convincing reluctant scholars that school is okay!