Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Setting out to reassure apprehensive kindergarteners-to-be, Smalls's wordy read-aloud offers a rather prosaic account of a class's activities during the first days and months at school. The spotlight here is on Alicia, a good-natured African American child. In a typically flat passage, readers learn that "Alicia wasn't so sure she would have any fun in school. But her mother had told her she was a big girl now. Alicia knew that being big meant going to school." Alicia does just fine, easily making friends and kindly reaching out to a forlorn classmate who is having difficulty adjusting. After closely following the class's schedule for the initial days, Smalls (who has the teacher read the kids one of her previous books, Jonathan and His Mommy) recaps some highlights of the fall, among them a visit to a museum, class pictures and a Halloween party. On the closing spread, Smalls covers all multicultural bases with a cursory rundown of the holidays celebrated in class: Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, the Puerto Rican Festival of the Three Kings and Chinese New Year. The busy, consistently smiling youngsters in Goffe's cartoon art have more personality, and they convincingly pass along the message that school is definitely okay. Ages 4-7. (June)
Children's Literature - Wendy Keen
A gentle introduction to school that lets children in on the routines and happenings of an average school year. Seen mainly through the eyes of young Alicia, we follow her first hesitant steps during the first three days of school, to the second week, to the second month, to the holidays. Alicia and her classmates learn about the lost and found, figure out where to sit in the cafeteria and visit the park and local museum. Using the character of Robert, Alicia's shy new friend, Smalls quietly shows that it does take time to adjust to school; but even by the third day, Robert has "found his smile" and has begun cheerfully participating with his classmates. Goffe's friendly drawings invite the reader to spend time studying the illustrations, discovering the variety of characters and places that are now part of Alicia's world. This provides a fine, nonthreatening way for parents and caregivers to introduce children to the sometimes intimidating world of school.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreS-KAlicia queries her mother about what will happen during her first day of kindergarten and what her mother will do while she is gone all day. The lengthy text gives a practically moment-by-moment description of the first and second days with shorter chapters about the third day, second month, and holiday time. While numerous common concerns about school are addressed in a reassuring manner, there is too much information for the intended audience. Drawings of the integrated class are expressive and interpret, but do not expand the text. A rather pedantic offering.Virginia Opocensky, formerly at Lincoln City Libraries, NE
The first day of school, with all its attendant excitement, is presented from the point of view of Alicia, an African-American girl who joins a multiracial class.
Smalls (Father's Day Blues, 1995, etc.) includes many of the activities children can expect in the first few months of kindergarten: drawing letters and coloring shapes, singing songs, watching a snake shed its skin, birthday parties, Halloween, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Three Kings Day, and the Chinese New Year are all presented. Alicia makes friends; by book's end, all the students are ready for vacation, while enjoying school and looking forward to coming back after the break. Goffe's watercolors reflect the happy, sweet tone of the text in this serviceable book for family and classroom.