Readaloud of the Week: Stuart’s Cape

STUART’S CAPE by Sara Pennypacker

“Adventures only happen to people with capes,” Stuart realizes, but that’s okay because he’s got a hundred of his dad’s old ties that he can use to DIY a cape for himself.

If you love Pennypacker’s Clementine and Waylon books, you’ll be happy to discover this whimsical early chapter book. Stuart is the new kid in town, and he’s worried about everything: man-eating spiders lurking in the closet of his new bedroom, getting locked in the bathroom at his new school, not making any friends in third grade. Antsy and anxious waiting for what’s going to happen, Stuart decides to make his own adventure, starting with a cape he makes by stapling together his day’s tie collection and one purple sock. And sure enough, Stuart’s new cape sets him off on fantastic adventures, including learning how to play pretend with help from a dinosaur and a gorilla, growing giant toast, and learning how to fly with a little assistance from his Aunt Bubbles’s angel food cake. (Of course, once he’s soaring through the sky, he has to figure how to get back to the ground. . .) It’s silly, playful fun that also manages to be sensitive to the very real worries of childhood.

This is one of those laugh-out-loud readalouds that you can finish in a couple of relaxed reading sessions, which makes it a great get-you-groove-back readaloud for your post-holiday homeschool. Stuart is a winsome little worrier, and the book’s black-and-white illustrations are sweet and playful. And if you love it, you can follow right up with the equally charming sequel Stuart Goes to School.