COUNTDOWN TO KINDERGARTEN by Alison McGhee

COUNTDOWN TO KINDERGARTEN

by & illustrated by
Age Range: 3 - 7
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KIRKUS REVIEW

McGhee debuts for children with a very funny story about a girl who tries desperately to cope with not knowing how to tie her shoes. She’s been told that this is a requirement for kindergartners, but she just can’t get the knack. So she tries to rid herself of the problem: ditching her shoes in a haystack (her mother finds them, “Looky here—the missing shoes and that needle I’ve been searching for!”), trying to feed them to the cat, and deploying one as a bath toy. But they are always returned to her. Despite her parents reassurance that many five-year-olds can’t do this either, all she can picture is a phalanx of teachers droning: “Once again: You can’t ask us for help. Ever. Never.” If she tries to run a scam with laceless shoes, she knows she’ll pay the piper—“I’m sorry,” she imagines her teacher saying, “Baby shoe-wearers have to take rest time in the sub-basement. Good Luck.” Or worse yet, she’ll have to wear a sandwich board broadcasting the news that she is “Velcro Girl.” Then the big day comes—her shoes neatly tied by her parents—and she learns that most of her comrades haven’t got the goods on their shoelaces. Laughter as antidote to worry works wonders. Most inspired is Bliss’s (Which Would You Rather Be?, p. 668, etc) layout: illustrations, usually divided into half-pages, march the story along to present the thrumming drama as the day draws near. His big-eyed little girl shares the panic with her cat, whose face reflects hers until “Two days before kindergarten,” when he’s seen sleeping in earmuffs to drown her out. Her narrative is set in standard type, but the wittiest of comments appear in balloons tying up the laughter. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-15-202516-2
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Silver Whistle/Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2002




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