Countdown to Kindergarten

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Overview

It's ten days before kindergarten—and according to a first grader, you can't get in unless you know how to tie your shoes. What is an almost-kindergarten-girl up against the clock to do?

It's just ten days before kindergarten, and this little girl has heard all there is to know—from a first grader —about what it's going to be like. You can't bring your cat, you can't bring a stuffed animal, and the number one rule? You can't ask anyone for ...
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Overview

It's ten days before kindergarten—and according to a first grader, you can't get in unless you know how to tie your shoes. What is an almost-kindergarten-girl up against the clock to do?

It's just ten days before kindergarten, and this little girl has heard all there is to know—from a first grader —about what it's going to be like. You can't bring your cat, you can't bring a stuffed animal, and the number one rule? You can't ask anyone for help. Ever. So what do you do when your shoes come untied, if you're the only one in the class who doesn't know how to tie them up again?

Told with gentle humor by Alison McGhee and brought to exuberant life by New Yorker cartoonist Harry Bliss, this lighthearted take on pre-kindergarten anxiety will bring a smile to the face of every child—and parent—having first-day jitters.

Author Biography: Alison McGhee is the author of the novels Shadow Baby and Rainlight , which was awarded the Great Lakes College Association New Writers Award and was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award. This is her first book for children. She lives in Minneapolis.

Harry Bliss is a regular cartoonist for The New Yorker and the illustrator of A Fine, Fine School by Sharon Creech and Which Would You Rather Be? by William Steig. He lives in Vermont.

Ten days before the start of kindergarten, a preschooler can not tie her shoes by herself and fears the worst.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"This witty children's book combines a puckishly structured counting book with an amiable exploration of new-school anxiety, " according to PW. Ages 3-7. (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-In this bibliotherapeutic book written by Alison McGhee and illustrated by Harry Bliss (Harcourt, 2002), a five-year-old girl struggles with her fears in the ten days leading up to her first day of kindergarten. She channels her fears through the anxiety caused by her inability to tie her shoe laces, a requirement for kindergarten. As the first day of school approaches, the young heroine grows increasingly dramatic as her last-ditch efforts to learn to tie or rid herself of the offending shoes are thwarted. The narration by Rachael Lillis is well paced and appropriately bouncy and childlike. Much of the story is told in thought balloons and included in the illustrations, potentially creating an uneven narrative flow, but the sound effects and varying voices help keep the story moving along with minimal confusion. One track of the recording has page-turn chimes and the other is straight narration. This pleasant package could help youngsters heading off to kindergarten face their first-day fears-Jennifer Iserman, Dakota County Library, Burnhaven Branch, Burnshide, MN Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
McGhee debuts for children with a very funny story about a girl who tries desperately to cope with not knowing how to tie her shoes. She's been told that this is a requirement for kindergartners, but she just can't get the knack. So she tries to rid herself of the problem: ditching her shoes in a haystack (her mother finds them, "Looky here-the missing shoes and that needle I've been searching for!"), trying to feed them to the cat, and deploying one as a bath toy. But they are always returned to her. Despite her parents reassurance that many five-year-olds can't do this either, all she can picture is a phalanx of teachers droning: "Once again: You can't ask us for help. Ever. Never." If she tries to run a scam with laceless shoes, she knows she'll pay the piper-"I'm sorry," she imagines her teacher saying, "Baby shoe-wearers have to take rest time in the sub-basement. Good Luck." Or worse yet, she'll have to wear a sandwich board broadcasting the news that she is "Velcro Girl." Then the big day comes-her shoes neatly tied by her parents-and she learns that most of her comrades haven't got the goods on their shoelaces. Laughter as antidote to worry works wonders. Most inspired is Bliss's (Which Would You Rather Be?, p. 668, etc) layout: illustrations, usually divided into half-pages, march the story along to present the thrumming drama as the day draws near. His big-eyed little girl shares the panic with her cat, whose face reflects hers until "Two days before kindergarten," when he's seen sleeping in earmuffs to drown her out. Her narrative is set in standard type, but the wittiest of comments appear in balloons tying up the laughter. (Picture book. 3-7)
From the Publisher
"A great book for easing the worries of a kindergartner."—Boston Herald

"Witty . . . an amiable exploration of new-school anxiety."—Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591124689
  • Publisher: Live Oak Media
  • Publication date: 4/28/2004
  • Format: Cassette
  • Age range: 2 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.56 (w) x 11.66 (h) x 1.35 (d)

Meet the Author

ALISON McGHEE is the author of three novels for adults as well as Snap, a teen novel, and the picture book Mrs. Watson Wants Your Teeth. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

HARRY BLISS is an award-winning cartoonist and cover artist for The New Yorker. He has also illustrated a number of picture books, and his first, A Fine, Fine School by Sharon Creech, was a New York Times Book Review bestseller, as was Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin. He lives in Vermont.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 10 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 22, 2009

    Disappointing

    I felt this book raised more fears about starting kindergarten than it did to reassure a child. Even for a four year old, the premise was somewhat ridiculous. What I found disturbing was the underlying theme throughout nine tenths of the book that not being able to perform a task, in this instance tying one's shoes, is punishable and that teachers will offer no help. I think the author's idea was to dispel the fears that children might have due to stories by older children about school but I felt it had the opposite effect for a child who may not have heard such tales.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2007

    A wonderful read!

    My four year old is on his way to kindergarten and he loves this book. He cracks up at the turn of every page. I would recommend this book to any child entering kindergarten.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2006

    A preschool favorite!!!

    This book is a favorite amongst my preschoolers. I can't begin to tell you how many times this book is requested by my students. With a classroom of children who are facing the natural fears of the transition to Kindergarten, this book enlightens them and lets them know that they are not the only ones afraid.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2003

    A Very Fun Book For YOU and YOUR kids!

    School is approaching and kids are getting nervous? Who will be my teacher? Who will I sit next to? Will I be able to bring my stuffed animal? This book deals with these questions and a lot more and does so with a great deal of humor. The illustrations are wonderful and the book is well written. I couldn¿t recommend a better book for kids about to go back to school. Buy it, your kids will love it. And if you¿re looking for other titles for your kids or teenagers don¿t miss: The Little Prince (Saint Exupery); The Butterfly (Jay Singh) and; (for you!) The Alchemist (Coelho).

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2002

    Laugh out loud

    I can't say enough about this wonderful new book. It is a laugh out loud book about a little girl's who has concerns about going to kindergarten for the first time. Prompted by info she got from an upper classman (a first grader!) that tying one's shoes is manadatory in kindergarten, this little girl (who doesn't know how to tie her shoes) is in a tizzy. With her trusty(and humorous in his own right) cat by her side, she comes up with one idea after another to avoid the inevitable. This is a great read for kids but adults will love it, too!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted September 1, 2010

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    Posted August 29, 2009

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    Posted May 14, 2009

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    Posted September 21, 2009

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    Posted April 25, 2010

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