Thursday, August 22, 2013

Shelf Life [kids]

The Day My Mom Came to Kindergarten by Maureen Fergus and Mike Lowery, 30 pages.
@ SPL: JP Fergu

For a young kindergarten student, the day on which her mother accompanied her to school for the first time was memorable, to say the least!

Her mother was so excited at visiting her daughter’s school that she barged into the front of the line ahead of other students, forgot to remove her (very) muddy shoes in the classroom, shouted her answers out to the teacher’s questions without raising her hand, talked while the teacher was reading aloud during storytime, dropped crumbs everywhere during snack time …and neglected to clean them up. How very embarrassing for her daughter! Really ... had her mother no idea of how to act away from home?

Perhaps the worst moment of the day was when her mother swung on the jungle ropes in gym class when the class was supposed to be playing beanbag tag.

It was fortunate that the teacher, Mrs. Beaudry, was so understanding, having no doubt witnessed the first-time visits of many over-excited parents over the years. “Once your mom gets used to the way we do things, I’m sure she’ll learn how to express her thoughts and feelings in more appropriate ways,” she told the little girl.

Her teacher was right. After a few hours, her mother had learned how to use her indoor voice, listen during storytime, take turns with others and clean up any messes.

Complete with hilarious illustrations, Maureen Fergus’ role-reversal story is an entertaining way for children to learn about classroom behaviour and misbehaviour.

** Recommended for ages 4 to 7 years.
Sea Monster’s First Day by Kate Messner, 30 pages.
@ SPL:  JP Messn

On his first day of school, Ernest the Sea Monster tried so hard to fit in.  He followed all of the Sea School rules.  He kept his flippers to himself;  did not eat the minnows, blow bubbles or pinch, and he tried his very best to play fairly.  However, each time Ernest tried to join in games with the other sea students, something went wrong.

When he asked for a turn on the sea swings or on the jungle gym, the other students swam away.  When he tried to introduce himself to another student, he or she swam away. 

The problem was that Ernest, being a sea monster, was so much larger than everyone else. Perhaps the other students were just a little afraid of him.

As the day went on, however, the other students became accustomed to his big size.  As the class learned songs and stories and then took a short field trip, they all had fun together.  By the end of the day, Ernest had made many new friends, and he was excited about returning to school the next day.

Ernest’s story will help young children cope with being a new student, reassuring them that even big sea monsters might feel nervous about their first day of school.  The engaging comic-style illustrations reinforce the positive tone of this story with its message about trying new things and making new friends.   

The Stratford Public Library has many other stories for young children who are about to start school.     

** Recommended for ages 3 to 6 years. 
This review appears in The Stratford Gazette. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.

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