|by Daniel Kirk
Putnam Books, 2004
Welcome to the school cafeteria, where lunchtime always brings a flurry of activity and excitement. Just a short hop from the classroom, it’s a world buzzing with drama: who’s eating what? Who’s sitting where–and why? Did our lunches get mixed up, why is that girl crying, who got candy today, and what is that thing in my sandwich? Daniel Kirk’s dynamic illustrations bring cafeteria escapades to uproarious life in this visit to the land of lunchroom frenzy.
Reviews of Lunchroom Lizard
Review from Children’s Literature
“A big, black, juicy fly” flies from the title page into the jolly rhyming tale of Gil the Gecko, who escapes from his tank to try to catch it. Cartoon-like characters speaking in speech balloons and painted in flat colors act out their mini-dramas in the crowded lunchroom. Kirk zooms us in for some intimate details, then produces scenes filled with the multiple actions of the whole room. A typical lunchroom is brought to life, with fun for almost all.
Review from School Library Journal
While pursuing a big, tasty fly, Gil the gecko finds himself on the lam from his classroom aquarium and in the cafeteria. Enter the students. The importance of who sits next to whom is the dominant issue for one set of characters while a mistakenly swapped lunchbox is a big problem for another, and a typically boring lunch is a drag for yet another. Meanwhile, Gil remains so focused on finding his lunch that the noise and chatter don’t appear to bother him in the least. The illustrations are done in a charmingly cheery palette. As a school story, and for children with an interest in geckos (perhaps future Chet Gecko fans), this title makes a nice addition.
Daniel Kirk speaks about Lunchroom Lizard
To research my story, I went to my son Russell’s elementary school and helped out on Pizza Day. With my ears and eyes open for good story ideas, I ran around amid the confusion and chaos of lunchtime, pouring soda and sliding slices of gooey cheese pizza onto paper plates to serve the hungry children. I saw lots of things going on that I wouldn’t have expected would happen at lunch, including several little girls who spent their entire lunchtime crying because of misunderstandings with their friends! There was so much going on in the cafeteria, I decided my book should tell several different stories at the same time, including the journey of a lost classroom lizard busily hunting for his own lunch.
Things to think about and do, after reading Lunchroom Lizard
2. Do you have a classroom pet at school? Did the pet ever get away? What kinds of animals make the best classroom pets?
3. Make up a story about a pet who gets away, or gets lost. Why do some animals like to run away, while others prefer to stay in their homes?
4. There are many kinds of lizards that make good pets. There are also many kinds of lizards that make bad pets! Look up some books about lizards and find out about their habitats, their diets, their personalities and which ones can be handled.