The first year of school for Ming is full of opposites and fun, but some things take time.
School is “where she learns to say hello… // and good-bye.” Flanked by her father, Ming surveys the friendly faces of her teacher and classmates; a turn of the page reveals Ming plastered to the window as her father’s silhouette recedes. She meets new friends and introduces old ones: her well-loved stuffed animal at show and tell. There are “pinkie-lifting tea parties” and walking the plank. But though Ming conquers all these new things, she’s just not ready for the big red slide: “growing up takes time.” As the year proceeds, the seasons turn in Löfdahl’s watercolor illustrations, which are soft, rounded, and slightly fuzzy. White backgrounds keep the focus on the characters and allow the brief text space of its own. Ming’s name implies Asian heritage. She has round eyes like all the other children, her skin is medium-toned, and she sports Pippi Longstocking braids in her dark hair. Her father appears white, and her classmates are diverse. School is “where all things… // are worth waiting for." The final, oval illustration pictures a smiling, confident Ming posed atop the slide in spring.
Featuring peeks at common classroom sights and activities, this empathetic tale could also be a discussion starter about growth and readiness. (Picture book. 3-6)