An excited Woolbur bursts out of bed on the first day of school, confident and ready to take the experience by the horns (an intention that perhaps inspires the exuberant hairdo he has created with red string).
While Maa isn’t sure Woolbur is ready, Paa doubts the school’s readiness for Woolbur, and indeed, Woolbur is one character who is fairly bursting with personality, and he’s not at all concerned with what others think of him. No matter how positively criticism is couched or what his classmates’ complaints might be, Woolbur’s response is the same: “I know….Isn’t it great?” His creativity comes out in the way he writes his name and in his modern art piece, and he takes the school lunch and the noisiness and newness of the playground games in stride. The end of Woolbur’s day brings things full circle to a sweet tuck-in by his parents. The watercolor-and-pencil illustrations feature much the same things many readers will find in their own schools, only tweaked slightly to accommodate the anthropomorphized, multispecies animal cast (the salad bar is labeled “grain,” “hay,” “clover,” and “bones,” and the school bus is a hay-filled wagon pulled by a tractor). Careful observers will see his classmates begin to relax and enjoy their days, his attitude contagious.
Woolbur is an excellent role model of self-confidence and positivity. (Picture book. 5-8)