Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Secret Shortcut” as Want to Read:
The Secret Shortcut
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Secret Shortcut

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  314 ratings  ·  62 reviews
Wendell and Floyd can't seem to get to school on time. Wendell discovers a shortcut so secret that only he knows about it. Soon both boys are lost in a wild jungle full of quicksand, monkeys, and crocodiles! Who would have thought that getting to school could be such an adventure?
Paperback, 32 pages
Published September 1st 1999 by Scholastic Inc. (first published September 1st 1996)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Secret Shortcut, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Secret Shortcut

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  314 ratings  ·  62 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Secret Shortcut
Sarah Sammis
Jan 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Sarah by: Sean
The Secret Shortcut by Mark Teague draws on the same idea of magical worlds being accessible from the most mundane places as is explored in The Lost and Found. Where The Lost and Found was located in a school, The Secret Shortcut is located somewhere en route to school.

Wendell and Floyd, the main characters from The Lost and Found are always late to work. They have magnificent excuses and given Teague's mixture of the urban and the fantastic, I take their explanations at face value. Their teache
A children's book set out of time - because everyone know's that children no longer walk to school by themselves. And certainly don't get to get lost on the way. Or play. With over the top art. And I'm never quite sure - maybe the boys really did see aliens. And pirates. And jungles. They certainly found a mud puddle.
Sallie Allen
Apr 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
The Secret Shortcut is an adorable adventure book about two school aged boys who enjoy walking to school together in the mornings. In fact, the boys, Wendell and Floyd, love walking to school together so much that they often walk slowly and get distracted. They recount various reasons they were late, including invasion of space creatures, and running into a group of pirates in the neighborhood. Their teacher is not pleased with their tardiness, and doesn't believe their colorful excuses. She dem ...more
Oct 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Secret Shortcut was a wonderful story that takes us as a the reader on a trip with two boys from reality to escaping reality and then back to reality again.

The story starts as an illustration bordered in white with the text written on the bottom of the white boarder. This signifies that we are in reality. The rest of the story is full of double page spreads that are full bleed which allows us to feel as though we have escaped reality and are in the imaginations of the two boys in the story.
Sep 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-to-the-kids
Getting to school seems to always be an adventure for two boys who can't get there on time. Part of me likes the imagination in all the things that happen to the boys as they try to get to school on time. However, I mostly don't like what I see as excuses for being late to school. Lol. I put a lot of stock in being responsible. Ha ha.
Dec 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books, school
Finding a shortcut to school can take imagination, ingenuity, and planning...and that's just what Wendell and Floyd do to avoid the wrath of their teacher for being late. The Secret Shortcut is full of brightly colored acrylic illustrations which really bring home the point.
Alaina Sloo
May 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
A fun read-aloud book for preschool - kindergarten. The youngest children don't understand the make-believe vs. real aspect of the story, but all the kids love the crazy adventures of the two boys.
Grace Holmes
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a fun, engaging adventure book for students in either 1st or 2nd grade. This book allows students to be imaginative and they are able to visualize all of the crazy adventures the two boys went on! In the classroom, I would use this book to teach students how to be creative in their writing. I would read the book aloud, then, I would have the students create their own "shortcut" story to school along with an illustration of what their "shortcut" would look like. I would also use this read ...more
Cheriee Weichel
Nov 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Mark Teague is hilarious. I'm delighted that the teacher librarian I am in for set out this book and another for me to read with groups of children.
Wendell and Floyd are always late for school and their teacher never believes that they nearly capture by space creatures, attacked by pirates, or delayed by a plague of frogs.
The next day they leave very early and take a shortcut to school. Fortunately they arrive barely in time as there is no way Ms Gernsblatt would believe what happened.
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: edu-333
This is an imaginative picture book about two boys who are always late to school. In the past, they were late because of aliens and plagues. This time, they take a shortcut through the woods which has all the exotic animals of the world in their way.

It's a fun premise. The pictures are colorful and interesting. I think students could us the book to consider what other adventures could delay the students for school.
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this book with my summer reading camp students. They thought it was a good book because:
It had awesome pictures.
The boys (Wendell and Floyd) got muddy.
They found a shortcut.
They found a secret spot.
They didn't like it because...
It was too preposterous. (One of our vocabulary words)
Morgan Pyles
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: free-choice-5
I liked that the plot or "problem" that the main characters had was something children of all ages could relate to! A simple task of getting to school turned into a huge adventure for these two boys. There were several "higher level" vocabulary words in the books that are good for children to learn.
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
I had so much fun reading this to my 3 year old son. Floyd and Wendell's daily adventure while going to school are interesting no matter how old you are. It's a reminder to grown-ups on how much of our imagination we lose as we grow up.
This delightful story reminded me of walking to and from school in my own childhood. Very many children it will be a comical adventure. I think it is not quite right for my first graders in the suburbs, but maybe for the second graders.
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Creative idea for a story. I like that the boys are diverse friends. My boys liked it but the ending fell a little flat for them.
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Mark Teague has an inventive story on how to boys get to school. The illustrations in this book are remarkable. A fun book to read aloud to a group of first graders!
Sherrie Gallagher

The Secret Shortcut is about two boys, Wendell and Floyd, who are always late for school because of some crazy mishap that happens on their way to school. So, one day, Wendell decides that they should take a shortcut to school. And so they take the shortcut through the jungle of their neighborhood.

The first and last pages have a border around it. The first page has a border to show the school and to create distance between the reader and the illustrations. This shows reality and then the pages
Liz Todd
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Always so much fun to read to a group of kids!
Sep 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Genre and type: Fiction and realistic fiction
Awards: none
Summary: Wendell and Floyd are having problems being late to school. For three days, things kept happening to them so they were tardy: space creatures, pirates, and frogs stopped them. On Thursday, they decided to leave extra early so they would arrive. On the way to school, they took a shortcut and ended up far, far away from the school. They encountered forests, jungles, swamps swimming with crocodiles, even a gorge. They end up climbing
Gloria Barbee
Oct 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Secret Shortcut by Mark Teague is a whimsical story of two boys trying to escape the reality of their frequent tardiness to school. The main characters Wendell and Floyd take on a daily adventure of over coming impossible obstacles to arrive to school, only to be late each time. Their teacher is often upset with their crazy excuses for being late. On one fine day they decide to take a secret short cut. Once again Wendell and Floyd avoid several surprising obstacles as they cross a jungle in ...more
Oct 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a story about 2 friends who are consistently late for school because something inevitably happens to them on their way to school in the morning. The boys end up making it to school by taking their “shortcut” but always find adventures on the way.
The first image shows the reader looking up at the very angry teacher who warns them to get to school on time. This shows the reader that the teacher has the power in the beginning of the story. The first picture is also bordered. But as we conti
Oct 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Secret Shortcut is an escaping reality picturebook. It is about two boys who never seem to get to school on time. They experience different adventures that keep them from arriving on time. Their teacher gets on them about it so they try a shortcut that Wendell knows about. They climb over and through neighbors yards and still find adventures. They just can't stay away from them. One adventure took them through a jungle full of parrots, snakes, rhinocerous', all kinds of reptiles, fowls and s ...more
Nov 27, 2016 added it
Shelves: wow-books
The Secret Shortcut is about two boys who cannot get to school on time. Their teacher is upset with them because they are always late. She tells them they better start getting to school on time so they come up with a "short cut" so they won't be late. They travel through what seems like the jungle to get to school and eventually arrive... on time! The teacher doesn't want to know how they got there on time but she is happy about it.

I think my kindergarten class would love this book. It would be
Brittany Cronin
Oct 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Secret Shortcut by Mark Teague is an engaging story that takes the reader on an escape inside and outside of reality. Every morning on the way to school to two boys seem to have an adventure that make them late to school. The boys experience jungles, aliens and more, but obviously no one believes their excuses for why they are consistently late to school. When they story is written from the reality perspective, the illustrations are bordered in white. When it turns into a full bleed of doubl ...more
Nov 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a great adventure book for students in grades K-2. Wendell and Floyd can't seem to make it to school on time, so one day they decided to take a secret "shortcut" as an alternative route to school and that is when the adventure begins! Teachers could use this book to teach students about details in writing and how to use their imagination to get those details. This book does a great job with getting its readers to imagine just how marvelous that secret shortcut was. With the great use of ...more
J-Lynn Van Pelt
A fun story about two boys who can't seem to get to school on time. Every morning they have wild, fantastical adventures that make them late. Ranging from alien invasions to mysterious jungles; no one believes the boys' excuses for being tardy.

An exciting book that could be used to discuss the fantasy genre or the overactive imagination of children. The multi-racial boys are conscientious, leaving the house earlier and earlier to try to get to school on time. A fun look at friendship that has an
Megan Goss
Oct 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The first thing I noticed about the first page is that the teacher was drawn much larger (like a giant) than the 2 boys, which portrays her power over the children. I like the imagination of the boys, “captured by space creatures” for the reason why they were late to school. The perspective of this book changes quite a bit from a worm’s eye view on the ground to a bird’s eye view in the trees; this creates the sense of movement or action throughout the book. The colors of the illustrations are v ...more
Sarah Leesman
Oct 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The Secret Shortcut is a story about two little boys named Wendell and Floyd who are constantly late for school. They leave early for school every morning but end up arriving at school late. On Monday it was space creatures, on Tuesday it was the pirates, and on Wednesday it was a plague of frogs. Their teacher, Ms. Gernsblatt, warned them never to be late for school again so they left even earlier. They tried to take a shortcut but ended up in the jungle. On Thursday they made it to school on t ...more
Jen Zuvella
Sep 11, 2012 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this book, my favorite part was how the teacher got mad at the boys on the first page and then we found out why the teacher kept getting mad at the boys. Everyday they showed up late to school with a different excuse, first met space creatures, pirates, and a plague of frogs. The fantasy continued as the boys tried to get to school on time, but thought a short cut was a good idea. I personally think younger boys would really like to hear this story in class. It is an easy read a ...more
Oct 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Wendell and Floyd never make it to school on time, they are too busy being abducted by aliens, avoiding nefarious pirates, and dodging a plague of frogs until their teacher smacks down the ultimatum – be on time and no more ridiculous excuses! As children do, they determine that the most obvious solution is a secret shortcut! They soon enter even deeper into a more fantastical wild world with swirling waters, lush trees and animals as wild as their imaginations. This story and its rich and color ...more
« previous 1 3 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Objects as Characters 1 1 Sep 08, 2011 12:24PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Molly's Pilgrim
  • Seriously, Cinderella Is SO Annoying!: The Story of Cinderella as Told by the Wicked Stepmother
  • I Stink!
  • Wagon Wheels
  • Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse
  • The Ugly Duckling
  • Regards to the Man in the Moon
  • I Am So Strong
  • Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
  • Rikki-Tikki-Tavi
  • The Rough-Face Girl
  • Peter and the Winter Sleepers
  • Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein
  • The King and the Seed
  • Little Red Riding Hood
  • Toy Boat
  • The Story of Little Black Sambo
  • My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
See similar books…
Mark Teague has delighted young readers with more than 20 picture books, and he has written many of them himself, including the popular Pigsty, Baby Tamer, and One Halloween Night. He is also the illustrator of Cynthia Rylant's beloved Poppleton series for beginning readers and the best-selling books by Jane Yolen, How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight and How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon.

Mark Teague's lif

News & Interviews

With his new horror novel, The Only Good Indians, author Stephen Graham Jones conjures one of the most effective scary images to ever hover in that...
47 likes · 4 comments