Saturday, March 11, 2023

*Review* Jasper Lizard Wants to Stay Home by Ashley Bartley


Genre: Children's 4-11
Published: March 20, 2023
Pages: 31

Jasper is jittery, queasy, and panicky. Must be time for school!

For weeks, he has fussed, moaned, and sometimes even refused to go to class. He has outbursts each morning, tells Mom and Dad he’s sick, and hides in his room. He uses any and every reason he can muster to stay at home, but then spends hours playing video games and watching his favorite reptile shows.

The longer Jasper stays out of school, the more anxious he gets about going back. His homework is piling up, and his parents are increasingly concerned and frustrated. They insist he go to school, and Jasper promises he will tomorrow. It’s always tomorrow. But when morning comes, he sobs and says he has to stay home for just one more day.

Missing school also means missing football practice, so Jasper isn’t allowed to play in the big game. When the team loses, he wonders if he is to blame? 
Everyone wants an answer for why Jasper keeps skipping out on school.

  • Is there a bully on the bus?
  • Is school scary?
  • Is homework too hard?
  • Is he really sick?
  • Is it a cry for attention?

With playful rhymes and colorful characters, author Ashley Bartley explores why sometimes young kids refuse to go to school and what can give them the confidence to try school again. A special page written specifically for parents and teachers offers insightful and practical tips on helping children who suffer from separation anxiety and school-related stress.

I received a copy of this book through Netgalley. This is my honest review. 

This is a rhyming story about a young lizard that doesn't want to go to school. I have a little lizard that also seems to never want to go to school, and much like Jasper, she will not tell me why, but makes up stories about feeling sick. In this story, Jasper learns to enjoy school by making a friend on the school bus and getting a morning job from the teacher, and also being allowed to take a toy from home as long as he doesn't take it out in class. I was hopeful that this story might give me some ideas for what to do for my lizard, but the one thing that is actually feasible, has been forbidden by her teacher's because she didn't follow the rules. The rhymes in the story sometimes felt like a little bit of a stretch, and there wasn't much of a flow so they were actually kind of easy to miss when not looking for them. 

The illustrations were colorful and bright and perfectly showed the events of the story, even Jasper's hiding. The lines were crisp and again I suspect digital illustration may have been used for this book. Overall I give this book 3.25 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

Ashley Bartley, M.Ed., NCC is a school counselor whose writing has been published in The Joyful Life Magazine and on the Kindred Mom Blog. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from The University of Virginia and her M.Ed. in School Counseling from The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA, where she grew up. She also has a diploma from The Institute of Children’s Literature and is a National Board-Certified Counselor. Ashley is the author of the popular Diamond, Opal, and Friends book series. She lives in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband and three young boys. Learn more at

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