In an inspired twist, a traditional nursery song becomes a story guaranteed to ease every child's first-day-of-school anxieties
Publishers WeeklyHillenbrand (Fiddle-I-Fee) turns the familiar playground song into a story of a shy pig's coming to terms with the first day of porcine kindergarten at Mulberry School. "Here is where we hang our hat,/ hang our hat,/ hang our hat./ I'm leaving mine on. I really wish that/ I were home instead of at school," says the little narrator, unaware of a nearby soul mate-another shy pig who's opted not to doff his propeller beanie. Daunted by the bustle of the school day (which includes having a block tower destroyed and getting splashed at the water table), both reluctant pigs inadvertently meet up while seeking sanctuary within the leafy branches of the school's mulberry bush, and with this turn of events comes a new attitude: "I can't wait to come back to school!" The stage-like compositions of Hillenbrand's mixed-media pictures make the most of the book's horizontal format while immersing readers in the low-to-the-ground world of kindergarten (he also includes a wheelchair-bound classmate). Most of the spreads depict sweet-natured, non-species- specific kindergarten fun, but in one sly scene, the two pig pals don paper-bag pig masks to act out a familiar scene with a schoolmate dressed as "B.B.W." (Big Bad Wolf). This playful book will raise the spirits and expectations of nascent school-goers. Ages 3-7. (Aug.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's LiteratureThe traditional nursery song introduces a story about an apprehensive little pig's first day at Mulberry School. Using variations on the repeated beginning refrain, our porcine narrator learns "this is where..." while wishing it was time to go home. But gradually, as the children build, splash, and play, school becomes a happy place with a new friend, a tasty snack, a story time. Within the pattern of the song, we find a cheery encouragement for a reluctant student. The long, horizontal, double-page scenes form a sort of frieze within which the assorted piggie-kids, including one in a wheel chair, act out the verses in simple, two-dimensional fashion. Hillenbrand's clarity of vision, deftly illustrated in mixed media on vellum painted on both sides, is readily accessible to young listeners and readers. 2003, Gulliver Books/Harcourt, Ages 3 to 6.
Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library JournalPreS-K-In a rhythmic text that piggybacks easily onto the traditional nursery rhyme tune, Hillenbrand describes the daunting first-day-of-school experiences of two shy little pigs. Unlike their classmates, who eagerly enter into the day's activities, these two hang back, longing for the safety of home. Crashing block towers, spilled paints, and other messes exacerbate their unhappiness, until finally both seek refuge under the mulberry bush. After discovering one another and sharing their concerns, companionship enables them to enjoy the rest of the day. While the story is predictable, Hillenbrand's pastel watercolors are engaging and include details that add both humor and interest. Pair this title with Kevin Henkes's Wemberly Worried (Greenwillow, 2000) for a comforting first-day storytime.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus ReviewsIn a nursery song adaptation that's meant to be sung aloud, a little pig tells about his first day at Mulberry School. The shy new student is just waiting for the end of the day when he can go home and get away from everyone. His day isn't going well: his tower of blocks falls down, he gets wet at the water table, and he hides while everyone else plays tag at recess. But it's there behind the mulberry bush that he meets a new friend who's been feeling the same way. Together, the two enjoy the rest of the day, look forward to learning new things, and wonder at how quickly the first day flew by. The traditional song, with its repetition, makes this a difficult read-loud-it really must be sung. But complicating this is the fact that not all the rhythms fit the original song. Hillenbrand's softly colored illustrations show children of all kinds, including those with disabilities. A useful addition to the genre. (Picture book. 3-6)
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 9.10(w) x 11.20(h) x 0.30(d)
- Age Range:
- 3 - 7 Years
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