Anthropomorphized bears lead readers on a rhyming ABC tour through some typical
school-day sights and activities. “Alphabet from A to Z, // Books that are just right for me. / Crayons for coloring, in my hand, /Dump trucks, playing in the sand.” The featured letter is highlighted in a color so readers can pick it out from the otherwise black type. Katz’s rhythms and rhymes are spot-on, and she tackles the tough letters with aplomb: “imagination,” “quacks” (during a game of duck, duck, goose), “upstairs,” “xylophones” (kindergarten being one of the only places these instruments are commonplace), and “zipping” up backpacks. From food and special classes to playing and getting along with friends, it’s all here, even a “Visit to the potty, proud.” Munsinger’s watercolors show a classroom full of adorable bears working hard at whatever they are doing, whether that’s using glitter and glue, trying to jump rope, or tracing letters. With few exceptions, though, their faces all show similar expressions of happiness, which doesn’t reflect the reality of a kindergarten classroom full of diverse personalities. Deborah Lee Rose’s The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), illustrated by Carey Armstrong-Ellis, does a much better job of that and mixes in humor as well. A fun-to-read-aloud introduction to kindergarten, if not the top of the heap.
A group of bears celebrates a full day at school in this cheery alphabet book. In verse that never misses a beat, Katz describes familiar classroom activities for each letter of the alphabet: “Kitchen during free-choice hour,/ Letter blocks that build a tower!/ Magnets to be traced in pen,/ Numbers— I can count to ten!” Munsinger’s always cozy paintings emphasize cooperation and fun as the bears play with glitter, jump rope, play an outdoor game of “duck, duck, goose,” and listen attentively during a read-aloud session with their teacher. It all adds up to an energetic outing with plenty of parallels to preschoolers’ and kindergarteners’ own school days. Ages 3–5.
As your little ones come home from their first few days of school, do they talk much about it? Or do you have to poke and prod to find out about their school day? In either case, Susan Katz’s newest picture book is a delightful way to celebrate and talk about the school day for preschoolers and kindergartners.
With delightful rhyming couplets, Katz celebrates playful school activities from a typical preschool or kindergarten day. She uses the alphabet to guide the story, starting each line with a different letter which is highlighted in bold block print. But the real delight comes from the adorable bears parading through their day….
Katz moves easily from dump trucks to jumping rope, building letter block towers, playing with paper puppets and waiting in line. Her rhymes have grace and rhythm that are lovely to read aloud and never overwhelm the pictures. The best description of this book came from my 11 year old: “It’s a first-day-of-school stress reliever.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. Enjoy and delight in seeing what your little one talks about or notices.