Late for School

by Mike Reiss
Illustrated by Michael Austin
Follow the rollicking, surreal adventures of a young boy as he races to get to school on time.
Price: $7.95
  • ISBN: 9781561454914
  • Publication date: 07/01/2009
  • Page Count: 32
  • Size: 9-7/8" x 11"
  • Age Range: 4-8


Follow the rollicking, surreal adventures of a young boy as he races to get to school on time.

Smitty is never late for school. Not when his shoes get stuck in a sea of thick, black tar. Not when the sky rains snowmen down on the city streets. Not when he uses his coat for a sail to catch a gale and is swallowed up by a whale. Or when he encounters a robot from Mars eating up cars…or a very, very hungry T. Rex!

With rhyming language and a vivid imagination, author Mike Reiss demonstrates that, for some children, getting to school on time can be an adventure. Illustrator Michael Austin’s humorous, exaggerated images colorfully bring to life the mischievous fun of the text. The surprise ending will delight young readers as they cheer on Smitty and his heroic efforts to beat the school bell.


Mike Reiss


Mike Reiss has garnered top awards as a television writer, including four Emmys and a Peabody for his work on The Simpsons. Reiss is also the author of several children’s books. He is a former president of The Harvard Lampoon and editor of The National Lampoon. He lives in New York.

Michael Austin


Michael Austin is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, a creative director, and the illustrator of several books. He lives in Georgia.


“With photorealistic precision, Austin depicts an exaggeratedly panicked young scholar from a variety of canted and slanted points of view as he runs, flies, sails, and flails his way down city streets… Children tardy and timely will laugh at this droll recitation.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Featuring a catchy cadence, Reiss’s rhyming tale and Austin’s pleasingly exaggerated artwork introduce a fresh-faced narrator… The narrative gives way to kid-pleasing nonsense as absurd incidents conspire to threaten the student’s perfect punctuality record… Austin’s wild and wily airbrushed illustrations make use of electric hues and skewed perspectives; large scale views present the earnest, wide-eyed hero manifesting an array of entertaining facial expressions. A surprise ending-complete with graphic details-wraps up this satisfyingly silly caper.” ―Publishers Weekly

“The poetic format of the story and the amazing illustrations will captivate readers…” ―Blue Mountain Town and Country Gazette

“This was a fun rhyming tale that kids will want to read over and over again.” ―It’s About Time, MaMaw


Children’s Choices ―International Reading Association, Children’s Book Council, 2004

Read Alouds too Good to Miss (Picture Books) ―AIME, 2008


Resources: Teacher's Guide

Teacher’s Guide

More Details

AR Level: 3.1
F&P: GRL L, Gr 2, Genre F
Lexile: NP
Themes: Tall Tale, Telling Time, NYC Landmarks
BISAC 1: JUV035000 Juvenile Fiction / School & Education
BISAC 2: JUV019000 Juvenile Fiction / Humorous Stories
BISAC 3: JUV037000 JUVENILE FICTION / Science Fiction, Fantasy, Magic