Booklist (August 2011 (Vol. 107, No. 22))
Grades 1-3. Author and illustrator O’Malley repeats the formula that worked so well in Backpack Stories (2009) in this humorous picture-book tribute to school desks. Presented in a graphic-novel format, six fanciful, silly stories incorporate situations that any child who has endured a tedious class will appreciate, from a hamster set loose on an obnoxious classmate (“I’m the best”) to a talking desk that intones, “You are my prisoner!” The comic-panel visuals emphasize the episodic nature of the stories and allow O’Malley to use different artistic styles depending on each entry’s mood, from dark and foreboding to bright and joke cracking. Though some stories may reinforce students’ feelings that they’re being held hostage in school, this lighthearted offering will likely produce cheers rather than jeers and makes a great choice for reluctant readers.