More like Love’s second book (You Are My Miracle, 2005) than her first (You Are My I Love You, 2001) in the You Are My… series, this fourth, school-themed one falls flat, especially since most of its intended audience does not yet attend school.
“I am your teacher; / you are my school child. // I am your welcome; / you are my running wild.” And so a new group of students gets to know their teacher, a kindly gray elephant who ushers them through their first day of school. Ichikawa’s weather nicely echoes the feelings that accompany those new to school—the rainy day giving way to lovely sunshine that allows the class to get outside. Her stuffed-animal students are a bit of a tougher read, as their facial expressions and body positions are stiffer than the usual anthropomorphized-animal picture-book fare. From music, show-and-tell and crafts to storytime, lining up and getting ready to go home, all the standard markers of school are here…except for metaphors that are meaningful to children. While many kids will not have trouble understanding that they are the “double-quick” to their teacher’s “go slow,” few will glean meaning from being a “Popsicle stick” to her “glue.” And while each of the rhyming verses flows on its own, together, the inconsistent rhythms and sometimes-forced rhymes make for an uneven read-aloud.
Those nervous about attending school for the first time will not find much comfort here, though teachers might like the sentiment. (Picture book. 3-6)