Sunday, August 22, 2010

Starting kindergarten - some new books to start the year

Schools are starting throughout the U.S., and little kids are getting ready for their first day of kindergarten. It's a huge transition - being in a big school with so many big kids. I'd love to share three books that talk about being a new kid in school. They help kids envision what school's like so that the routines are familiar.
Kindergarten Diary
by Antoinette Portis
NY: HarperCollins, 2010
ages 4 - 6
available on Amazon and at your local library
"I don't want to go to Big School with big kids. What if they're mean?" worries Annalina on the day before she starts kindergarten. But her mom insists that she really has to go to school, and here we have her diary of her first month in kindergarten. I loved how this story really helped get inside the feelings of the child, showing what's scary and fun about school. The illustrations are lively and fun. Annalina has a wonderful imagination. When she worries that her teacher will be scary, she imagines a fierce monster teacher spewing out the alphabet. When she and her friends try to get across the monkey bars, they pretend they're in the jungle and then in outer space. Annalina’s diary finishes on the last day of September -- there are just too many fun things to do to keep writing! Annalina's voice is fresh and authentic. Head over to You Tube to watch this video of the author, Antoinette Portis, talk about her inspirations for writing the story and see some of the illustrations.
Kindergarten Rocks!
by Katie Davis
NY: Sandpiper / Harcourt, 2005
ages 4 - 6
available on Amazon and at your local library
Dexter isn't scared about starting kindergarten, but his stuffed dog Rufus is a little nervous. So Dexter's older sister Jessie helps reassure Dexter and Rufus that kindergarten will be fine. "Rufus is scared I'll get lost on the way to school," says Dexter. "The bus driver knows the way. Don't worry, kindergarten rocks," reassures Jessie. Dexter finds out that kindergarten is lots of fun, and he gets to write letters, cook food, and play in the school's imagination station. The cartoon like drawings, with speech bubbles and bright colors, will draw kids in and reassure them.
Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten
illustrated by Ashley Wolff
NY: PDutton, 1996
ages 4 - 6
available on Amazon and at your local library
This is one of my favorite books to read. In an exceptionally clever alphabet book, Miss Bindergarten and her new students get ready for the first day of school. "Adam Krupp wakes up. Brenda Heath brushes her teeth. Christopher Beaker finds his sneaker. Miss Bindergarten gets ready for kindergarten." Adam is an alligator, Brenda a beaver, Christopher a cat; throughout the book, each child's name corresponds with the next letter in the alphabet, and each animal also matches that letter (there's a helpful chart at the end). But you also watch as the friendly Miss Bindergarten (a dog) prepares her classroom, sweeping, dusting and making it cheerful and welcoming. The short rhymes are fun to read aloud, and the illustrations are filled with details and humor - this makes a perfect book for pouring over time after time.

The review copy of Kindergarten Diary was kindly sent by the publisher. The other books came from our public library. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this page, a small portion will go to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you). Thank you for your support!

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