Using this link supports Winston's Wish (How?)
Author: Janet Ahlberg
Illustrator: Allan Ahlberg
How this book might help: Providing a good overview of what happens at a typical primary school. A good starting point to encourage children to talk about anxieties and emotions they may be experiencing related to starting school.
The text is very straight-forward from the start, using lists (children's names, play-activities, furniture, play areas) to take us through the experience, accompanied by lots and lots of small illustrations reflecting the text. The book breaks the experience of the first term into sections based on time (Day 1, Day 2, Remainder of Week 1, As Time Goes By, End of Term). As it proceeds it addresses issues like being shy of joining in, getting a scrape in the schoolyard, being sad or sleepy or grumpy, but focuses on the range of play activities that school provides in a caring atmosphere and having fun with other children. Examining the pictures is integral to the reading of this book, and after a few readings a child will be well-prepared and meet with very few surprises when the Big Day finally arrives. Points to note: Although the children are clearly from different cultures in the pictures, the vast majority are white. There are some references within the book (children say prayers at school and perform a nativity play at Christmas).
Reviewed by: Daire McGovern
Age Range: 3+