Friday, July 25, 2014

Kindergarten Jitter Busters

Helping to wrestle "First Day of School" panic to its knees a la Ready and Waiting For You, our last featured book, can make any child feel as brave as a superhero. With that in mind, here are three more new books that offer innovative, if unorthodox, game plans to make sure even the shyest child comes out on top.

Oliver and his Alligator by Paul Schmid introduces a painfully shy little boy who, on his first day of school, "...felt his brave wasn't nearly as big as he needed it to be." His solution? Why, to stop by the swamp of course--and pick up an alligator! Whenever he's asked a question or feeling overwhelmed, he mumbles, "Munch, Munch!" Oliver becomes calmer as his alligator mysteriously grows fatter...

Schmid's droll text and illustrations will tug grins from even the most wan-faced, quaking child.

If you were a T-Rex, would you be afraid of school? No, because dinosaurs always win! Bob Shea's unruly dino is ready to invade the hallowed halls of academia. Even glitter and glue haven't got a chance against a red, over-energized, toothy lizard.

 Reluctant scholars will embrace Dinosaur vs. School as the perfect book to sneak into a backpack for moral support.                                           

All right, there's no way out--You-have-to-go-to-school!!! Now what? Sarah Maizes' On My Way to School  gives kids plenty of options as to their modes of transportation: a pirate ship, kangaroo, covered wagon, and, yes, a tiger-filled school bus. There is nothing subtle about Michael Paraskevas' illustrations. Livi the reluctant, cowboy boot-wearing student is resplendent with her out-of-control pigtails and garish red and green pet frog. Going from an unidentifiable mound beneath the covers to queen of the classroom is as uncomplicated as turning a page for Livi and her revved up imagination.

Children will forget all about first day of school jitters as they excitedly point out the crazy pigtails on...a blue elephant?


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