In the week before kindergarten starts, Monkey’s parents and older brother do all they can to help him feel ready. Will it be enough?
At the beginning of the week, Monkey is definitely not ready. He sucks his thumb while snuggling his blankie, plays with his familiar toys, and has a whole list of worries. Besides, he doesn’t really need to go to school: he can already count to 12 and remember most of the alphabet. His parents buy him a new lunch box and cool sneakers; he plays school with his family, and his older brother tells him about all the fun he’ll have; and Mommy and Daddy read him all the books about kindergarten at the library. A playdate with his new classmates also helps put his fears to rest. The night before his first day, he makes his lunch and packs a favorite book from home, and in the morning, Monkey walks into his classroom, finally ready. While the colored-pencil–and-gouache illustrations are bright and colorful and show things that will be familiar to readers, Brown’s monkeys are not terribly cute or cuddly. Rendered in a childlike style, their expressions are sometimes odd. Also, those practicing new reading skills may have difficulty with Brown’s handwritten text, as the a’s look like d’s, letters that usually dip below the line don’t, and sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between upper- and lowercase letters.
Still, sure to give readers, whether adult or child, lots of ideas for easing children into the transition to school. (Picture book. 3-6)