'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.' - author Jackie French

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Review: Starting School

There are lots of things that might make a child nervous about starting school – new routines, new people, new surroundings and worries about making friends and fitting in.

Starting School covers all this and more in a way that is positive and inclusive, helping children to see that they aren’t so different from the other kids who are starting at school. Everyone has trouble remembering names, keeping track of their things and following all the new rules and everyone has moments when they feel a little overwhelmed and lost, but best of all, everyone gets the chance to make new friends, learn new things and have lots of fun.

Jane Godwin’s text and Anna Walker’s lovely illustrations create a wonderful sense of the busyness and exciting (and sometimes intimidating) newness of the first day of school. The story particularly follows five children – Tim, Hannah, Sunita, Joe and Polly – but it also includes the other 16 members of the class and their teacher Miss Quick.

The story doesn’t paint everything as sunshine and roses, but it does provide a very encouraging message for children that school is all about trying new things, asking questions, and getting to know interesting new people. Occasional lists, such as ‘things we need for school’, ‘things we do with friends’, and ‘things we eat at school’ offer lots of opportunities for children to ask questions about issues that might particularly concern or confuse them about starting school.

Starting School is a beautifully crafted story that reassures nervous children and emphasises the excitement of heading off to ‘big school’ for the first time. A wonderful resource for preschools and a must have for families with children getting ready for this next exciting stage.

Title: Starting School
Author: Jane Godwin
Illustrator: Anna Walker
Publisher: Viking, $24.99 RRP
Publication Date: 9 August 2013
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780670076765
For ages: 4-6
Type: Picture Book

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