|Image from BarnesandNoble.com|
It’s the first day of kindergarten for the boy in this book and he can’t wait! His mother on the other hand, isn’t as excited. She worries about her son going to such a big school and if he will make friends. But the boy isn’t scared, “Mom, don’t worry. I’ll be fine. I am already five!” At the end of the day, the boy excitedly tells his mother that kindergarten is awesome and his mother is so proud and happy…until the boy asks if he can take the bus to school tomorrow!
Yum’s focus on the emotional relationship between mother and son elevate this from being just another book about starting kindergarten to an insightful and easily identifiable story. In my opinion, Yum’s watercolor illustrations are the highlight of this book. Although the setting, clothing, and props are realistic, Yum manipulates the size of the mother and son to show the emotion in relation to one another. For instance, when the boy wakes his mother at the beginning of the book he appears to be a giant towering over his worried mother. However, when the boy must leave his mother to walk into the school she now appears to be twice his height. The color of the characters changes as Yum uses bright yellow to show confidence and positivity and blue to indicate anxiety and fear. The text is a combination of narration and dialogue that accurately captures the bravado of a five year old.
Use this book with Wemberly Worried or Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School for a storytime about going to school. All three of these titles are great because they are good jumping off points to discussing the things that worry kids about going to school.
As you read the book, ask the kids what they think the characters are thinking or feeling based on the illustrations. Encourage parents to talk about their feelings about their child starting school. Chances are both child and parent have similar worries.
The boy in the book is almost never seen without his red backpack, so follow up by making simple paper backpacks. I found two designs, one is a folded paper backpack and the other is a paper lunch bag backpack. You can make both crafts faster by precutting pieces. Have each child make a list of what they would pack in their bag for the first day of school. You can have them tape or glue this list to the backpack if you like.
For a taste of the book, check out the book trailer.