In Bronstein’s illustrated debut children’s book, a boy becomes upset when he first starts school because he doesn’t know what’s going to happen next.
Making the transition to attending school isn’t always easy for kids. Although young Stewie’s parents try to reassure him by telling him he’ll enjoy it, he’s still nervous. Right away, he has to deal with some uncomfortable feelings: “[T]he teacher said, ‘All Daddies and Mommies have to leave now.’ That made me sad and feeling sad makes me mad.” Later, just as Stewie settles into an activity, such as playing with trains, it’s time to do something else. Sudden transitions, rules, being told what to do—his parents didn’t prepare him for this. “Can you get me outta here?” Stewie asks the teacher at nap time. Eventually, he acts up so much that his mother has to come get him. At home, his older brother and younger sister sweetly try to cheer him up, but nothing really helps until Stewie has a late-night brainstorm to make a picture-schedule of his day, which will allow him to feel ready for each activity. His second day of school goes much better: “And when it was music time, I sang the loudest. (I am a Boomstein, after all.)” Throughout, Bronstein never shames Stewie for his loud, exuberant nature or his need to know what happens next. Instead, his parents and siblings respect his feelings and work together to solve his problem—a great lesson for all families. The book appends a discussion with two child-development experts, explaining the theoretical underpinnings of the book; this section contains thorough, helpful advice, such as urging parents to practice school routines with their child ahead of time. Young’s delightfully quirky, colorful illustrations charmingly help tell the story as they convey Stewie’s personality. Further resources, including a blank, printable “What Happens Next” picture-schedule, are available on the author’s website.
Practical advice for parents and an entertainingly helpful get-ready book for kids starting school.