Saturday, August 21, 2010

Kid Konnection: Ready for School

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. Today, I'm going to share with you some picture books that Booking Son and I recently read to help prepare him for kindergarten. I thought it was appropriate to title this week's Kid Konnection "Ready for School" because this is our last weekend of the summer. Next Wednesday, Booking Son will be starting kindergarten and Booking Daughter will be starting Middle School.

Summary: Your buffalo is growing up. He plays with friends. He shares his toys. He's smart! But is he ready for kindergarten? (And is kindergarten ready for him?)

Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? is a hilarious look at first-day-of-school jitters from author Audrey Vernick and illustrator Daniel Jennewein. -- Balzar + Bray

I first caught a sneak peak at the adorable book IS YOUR BUFFALO READY FOR KINDERGARTEN? by Audrey Vernick during BEA. I was on a tour with the illustrator Daniel Jennewein (Presenting Lenore's husband!) and he shared the book with a few of us. I immediately knew it was something special and I wanted to share it with Booking Son before he started school!

We absolutely loved this book! Booking Son has been having quite a few concerns about starting school, and I've been doing my best to assuage his fears. I think this book actually helped a bit. IS YOUR BUFFALO READY FOR KINDERGARTEN? described a lot of the activities and lessons that take place in a kindergarten classroom. And since the idea behind the book included a buffalo attending school, the information was presented in a very funny way.

Booking Son and I actually read this book just a few minutes after we got home from his kindergarten orientation. He was feeling slightly better after seeing his classroom, meeting his teacher, and taking a quick bus ride. However, I think this book reinforced that he will be okay to start school. After we finished the book, Booking Son told me that " oh yeah, the buffalo was definitely ready for kindergarten and I thinks I am too!"

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention how absolutely adorable the illustrations are in this book. They are cute and whimsical and perfectly complemented the story. All in all, I highly recommend this book!

Summary: Here's the purr-fect read-aloud for kindergarteners! When Mr. Bigbuttons finds a tiny stray kitty cat outside near the jungle gym, he knows exactly where to bring it—into the kindergarten classroom, of course. And so the children welcome their newest classmate, name her Tinker Toy, and share their circle time spots with her. Tinker Toy fits right in, even answering Teacher's questions with a loud "Meow!" J. Patrick Lewis is one of the most renowned children's poets writing today, and he has created a real gem. His simple rhyming text demands to be read aloud—and the large type and bright, irresistible illustrations by Ailie Busby make this a fantastic book for story time in classrooms and libraries. -- Schwartz & Wade

KINDERGARTEN CAT by J. Patrick Lewis and Ailie Busby is another very cute book that takes a look at a kindergarten classroom and a very special cat. Mr. Bigbottoms discovers a stray kitten and decides that the kindergarten classroom will make the perfect home. Of course, the kids adore the cat -- how could they not? The book shows the special friendship that grew between the children and the kitty.

The book is just ideal for teachers to read-aloud during circle time because there are just a few lines per page. In addition, the verses are catchy and almost read like a song. I especially liked the mixed media illustrations and they definitely enhanced the story. Booking Son loved looking at all of the colorful details on each page while I read the rhyming words.

Recommended for kindergarten and preschool aged children.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book.

Summary: What a big day: Emily's going to school for the first time-and she's a little nervous. Soon, though, Emily meets new friends, and learns that school can be fun. Children will see exactly what to expect on their first day, and parents will find out how to prepare their child for this important transition. -- Sterling

HELPING HAND BOOKS: EMILY'S FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL by Sarah, Duchess of York and illustrated by Ian Cunliffe is part of the Helping Hand Book Series. Helping Hand Books are designed so parents and children can read a simple story and then discuss a difficult issue. Some of the topics covered in this series include becoming a new brother, dealing with bullies, handling strangers, and starting school.

In EMILY'S FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, Emily is naturally a little nervous to leave her parents for an entire day. However, once she gets to school, she realizes that school is a lot of fun and the day just flies by. Of course, she can't wait to go back. It's a pretty predictable story for the parent, but I can see how it might help kids with their concerns.

At the end of the book, there is a section with ten helpful hints for parents of children who are starting school. These tips are written by an expert Dr. Richard Woolfson, PhD, not Sarah, Duchess of York. I generally agreed with the tips, but I also think that most of them were fairly obvious.

Cute book that should help to alleviate some of those first day jitters.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book.

Summary: Annie Grace wears her “Adventure Annie” cape to her first day of kindergarten, and proceeds to barrel through the day, searching for adventure in every moment. Her interpretation of the class’s Gold Star Rules isn’t exactly what her teacher, Mr. Todd, had in mind. But somehow Annie does manage to save the day when two of her classmates get lost on their way to retrieve the afternoon snack. Spirited and funny, this is an introduction to kindergarten that will please kids and teachers alike. -- Dial Books for Young Readers

The main reason that I decided to read ADVENTURE ANNIE GOES TO KINDERGARTEN by Toni Buzzeo is because the illustrator Amy Wummer will be attending the 2010 Lititz Kidlit Festival (and this books counts toward that challenge!) However, it also dawned on me that it might be cute to read with Booking Son before school starts.

I thought ADVENTURE ANNIE GOES TO KINDERGARTEN was terrific! I couldn't help but love Adventure Annie and her spunky personality. She was always trying to find her next adventure and kindergarten seemed full of possibilities. When she learned that a gold star is awarded each day to the student who best follows the rules, Annie was determined to win. However, there was one slight problem. Annie's creative adventures weren't always in agreement with the teacher's rules.

There is no doubt that Annie's antics provide lots of laughs, and kids will just love the silliness. As a mother, though, I liked that this book also had some important lessons about kindergarten. The teacher's Kindergarten Gold Star Rules included rules about respect, making good decisions, using inside voices, and being kind and helpful to others.

I truly enjoyed this book and I especially liked Ms. Wummer's adorable illustrations. Highly recommend!

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


Lenore said...

Aww! Hope your son enjoys kindergarten. Glad the Buffalo could help :)

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Adventure Annie looks kind of like a variation on Fancy Nancy. Looks great!

I added a link to the YA book Flygirl, about a black girl who passes for white so she can fly during WWII.

bermudaonion said...

I thought Buffalo was great, but I wasn't crazy about Emily. Anything that helps ease those fears, though, is good in my book! Tell Booking Son that I said he is totally going to rock kindergarten!