Sunday, September 6, 2009

Miss Mingo and the First Day of School - it's a wild time (ages 4 - 8)

Kids are fascinated by animals - they want to know all sorts of details about them. So when I found Miss Mingo and the First Day of School, I loved the way it shares fascinating animal facts in the frame of a fun story for the beginning of the school year. Is it fiction? Sure. But it has a lot of non-fiction information in its pages!

Miss Mingo and the First Day of School
by Jamie Harper
MA: Candlewick Press, 2006
ages 4 - 8
Miss Mingo, the flamingo, looks out at her new kindergarten class and sees a room full of nervous little animals. To help them get to know one another, Miss Mingo asks them to share something special about themselves. "I'll bet you didn't know that the food I eat keeps me in the pink, said Miss Mingo sipping a shrimp shake. 'And I always eat upside down.'" Below a very fun illustration is nonfiction text explaining how flamingos scoop up food in the water upside down, and how Carotenoids in shrimp make the flamingos' feathers pink.

The classroom gets wilder and wilder as the animals share their special talents. Alligator is always losing her teeth - did you know that alligators can grow up to 3,000 teeth in its lifetime?
"Well, I have only two teeth, said Narwhal. "But one of them is a sword!" "The spiral-twisted tusk of a male narwhal is really its overgrown left tooth. It can grow to be 10 feet long."
I certainly didn't know that an octopus has almost 2,000 suckers, and that it uses them to tell the difference between sweet, salty and bitter foods.

This book brings laughter and shares interesting information about 20 different animals. It does not go into depth about any one animal, but it will certainly entertain kids and make them want to learn more about interesting animals. It's a fun book to read to a group of kindergartners or 1st graders, or to have for 2nd graders to read by themselves.

Find this at your local bookstore or public library. You can also buy it on Amazon.

Do you love finding new nonfiction for your children? Check out the weekly feature: Nonfiction Monday, part of the wonderful Kidlitosphere community. This week, it's hosted by The Miss Rumphius Effect.


  1. Sounds like a wonderful back to school read!

  2. Sounds like a fun book. I'll need to check it out.

  3. Thanks for reviewing this "hybrid" of fiction and non-fiction. Teachers are looking for this kind of material for the primary set!

  4. thanks, Michelle, Janet & the Trio - it is a fun "hybrid" of fiction & nonfiction that makes kids giggle. thanks for the comments!