Eliza's Kindergarten Surprise


Eliza has to go to school for the first time ever. But she doesn’t want to leave Mommy. Mommy understands. She places a kiss on her fingertips and gently slides it into Eliza’s pocket. But Eliza’s pocket still feels empty inside. Then, at school, she sees things that remind her of her mother. She gets an idea and makes a mommy doll as a surprise for Mommy! Child-friendly illustrations using acrylic paint by Nancy Speir add charm and appeal as Mommy shows Eliza a surprise, too.

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Eliza has to go to school for the first time ever. But she doesn’t want to leave Mommy. Mommy understands. She places a kiss on her fingertips and gently slides it into Eliza’s pocket. But Eliza’s pocket still feels empty inside. Then, at school, she sees things that remind her of her mother. She gets an idea and makes a mommy doll as a surprise for Mommy! Child-friendly illustrations using acrylic paint by Nancy Speir add charm and appeal as Mommy shows Eliza a surprise, too.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

McGinty (Ten Little Lambs) offers a twist on a well-worn solution to separation anxiety. The imaginary parental-kiss-in-a-child's-pocket is meant to soothe and comfort on the first day of school, but to Eliza, "her pocket felt empty, too empty inside," after her mother slips a pretend kiss inside it. The new kindergartener then goes through the day collecting various items in the pocket of her jumper (which has a symbolic pink heart appliqué on the outside) that remind her of Mommy: "she found a pebble, smooth and bright like Mommy's skin." With the pocket full, but her heart still feeling empty, Eliza finally uses her assorted treasures to craft a miniature clothespin doll resembling her mother. While few five-year-olds could independently create such a clever stand-in, the message here is one of resourcefulness and perseverance. Speir's illustrations are rendered in cheery, uplifting colors, with a vibrant yellow backing many of the spreads. A spare, cartoon quality evokes an easygoing, childlike feel. The reassuring penultimate scene of Eliza's mother withdrawing a photo of her daughter from her own suit pocket ably demonstrates to apprehensive students-to-be that their parents, too, have homesick feelings and similar ways of coping. Ages 5-8. (July)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Della A. Yannuzzi
Alice B. McGinty has written a warm and charming picture book about a child's first day of Kindergarten. Eliza is sad about being away from mom. Eliza's mother responds by putting an imaginary kiss in the front pocket of Eliza's dress. Her mother tells her the kiss will be near her heart. Eliza tries to enjoy the singing in circle time, but Eliza is still sad. Her pocket feels empty. Then, Eliza looks down at the rug and finds two blue buttons. They're the color of mommy's shoes. She picks them up and drops them in her pocket, but her pocket still feels empty. Instead of playing with the other children, Eliza finds a pebble that is smooth like her mommy's skin. The pebble goes into her pocket as well as a red napkin from snack time; but Eliza's pocket, though getting full, still feels empty to her. Then during art time, Eliza pushes the materials away. She just wants her mommy. But then, Eliza sees a piece of yarn the color of her mom's hair and puts it in her pocket. She realizes she can make something to really remind her of mom. She takes a clothespin on the table and covers it with the red napkin, adds the blue buttons for shoes, glues the pebble on for the face, and yarn for hair. Then she draws on eyes and a mouth and shows her teacher that she has a surprise. "It's Mommy!" Then she slips the doll into her pocket. Eliza goes on to enjoy the day. She sings, plays with the other children, and when school is over, greets her mom with a big hug. "Guess who's in my pocket?' Eliza asks. Then she shows her the doll. Mom takes a photo of Eliza out of her own pocket and says "I have a surprise for you, too." All is well. Mom and child have survived the separation. The illustrations arecolorful. Both children and parents will enjoy this delightful book.
School Library Journal

On the first day of kindergarten, Eliza misses her mother. She's too sad to sing, play tag with classmate Ruth, or eat a snack. Not even the kiss her mother put in the pocket of her jumper near to her heart helps ease her longing. During the course of the morning, she collects various objects that remind her of her beloved parent: two blue buttons like her shoes; a smooth bright pebble like her skin; and a red napkin like her dress. Still, "her pocket felt empty, too empty inside." Then she spies a bit of golden yarn, just like her mother's hair, and she gets the idea to make a clothespin mommy doll to keep in her pocket. "During music, Eliza and Mommy sang every song." At recess, "Eliza and Ruth and Mommy all played tag." At the end of the day, the little girl is surprised to learn that she, too, has been missed-her mother reveals the child's photo tucked into the pocket of her dress, and then "she headed home with one Mommy by her heart and the other by her side." The bright acrylic cartoons feature the blond-haired, blue-eyed girl and her mother-a taller, thinner version of herself-against a sunny yellow background. While the story is somewhat predictable and sentimental, it is reassuring and may inspire some creative doll making. An additional purchase for back-to-school blues or Mother's Day.
—Barbara AuerbachCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
When Eliza begins her first day of kindergarten, her mother lovingly places a special kiss inside her pocket. However, much to her dismay, Eliza discovers that her pocket of kisses feels too empty and is soon awash in homesickness. As she goes through the routine of a typical kindergarten day, the intrepid little girl discovers mundane items that remind her of her mom. By midday, she has collected a pair of blue buttons discovered at circle time, a smooth pebble found at recess and a red napkin salvaged from snack. A touch of creativity at craft time results in a cleverly crafted keepsake for Eliza to assuage her longing for her mother. McGinty's compassionate tale gives anxious readers the inspiration to discover unique ways to handle their own separation anxieties. Speir's acrylic paintings rely on bright bold colors to capture the reader's attention. The simplicity of her illustrations allows readers to connect with Eliza's changing emotions. This encouraging tale emphasizes self-reliance as young readers anticipate their first separation from home. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781477816837
  • Publisher: Amazon Childrens Publishing
  • Publication date: 7/23/2013
  • Pages: 34
  • Sales rank: 1,462,986
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 0.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Alice McGinty
Alice McGinty
Alice B. McGinty lives in Urbana, Illinois.
Wendy Anderson Halperin lives in Interlochen, Michigan.
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