No School for Ben: What Will Happen?
by Daphne Pang

"So, you must be very smart then; enough to help other people by going to school today."

Six-year-old Ben has made a monumental decision: he no longer needs to go to school. He reasons that he experiences the same routine every day, and he already knows the alphabet and all of his numbers. It is obvious to Ben there is nothing more to learn. He announces his intention to become a very young dropout one morning when his mother wakes him to get ready for school. Ben’s mother does not get upset. Instead, she sits down with her son for a heart-to-heart talk. The boy eventually understands some of the repercussions of not going to school—not for himself but for the other people in his day-to-day life who rely on him.

For example, what would happen if Ben’s friends decided to copy him and stop going to school? Would their bus driver lose his job if he no longer had children to transport? And then there is the question of his teacher. If everyone stopped going to school, how long would it be before she lost her job? Ben begins to understand the domino effect his decision could have and the importance of doing his part in support of his friends, the bus driver, his parents, and his teacher.

Young readers should be able to easily identify with Ben and enjoy reading about the important lesson he learns about connectivity and the fact that he is not the only one affected by his decisions. Pang does an admirable job of conveying one of life’s major truths in a way that comes across as appealing and not pedantic. Dwain Esper brightly illustrates the book, and his pictures are a nice addition to this sweet story based on the author’s experiences with her own sons.

Return to USR Home