A Place Called Kindergarten


Even those who wait at home are eager to hear all about kindergarten.

The animals in the barn are in a tizzy: Tommy is missing! The dog says Tommy is gone to a place called kindergarten. "Where is kindergarten?" they exclaim. "What will happen to Tommy there? Will he ever come back?!" Eventually Tommy bursts into the barn with tales of the fun he had and all he learned. A charming and tender story that's sure ...

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Even those who wait at home are eager to hear all about kindergarten.

The animals in the barn are in a tizzy: Tommy is missing! The dog says Tommy is gone to a place called kindergarten. "Where is kindergarten?" they exclaim. "What will happen to Tommy there? Will he ever come back?!" Eventually Tommy bursts into the barn with tales of the fun he had and all he learned. A charming and tender story that's sure to reassure any child heading to kindergarten.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this endearing story from the team behind I Like Where I Am, a boy named Tommy fails to show up at the barn one morning to deliver his daily dose of treats and affection. Four worried animals-a cow, sheep, horse and hen-decide to find out why. The bewildering answer from the farm dog causes quite a stir. "Kindergarten! Where's that?... What does it look like?... Will he ever come back?" The text provides a comical reverse translation: "(If you'd been there, eavesdropping, it would have sounded something like this: `BaabaabaabaamoomoomoomooCluckcluckcluckclucknaynaynaynay')." Their anxious repartee continues until the arrival of a yellow school bus. An ebullient, paint-spattered Tommy announces, "I've been to Kindergarten!... And I learned lots!" His newly acquired knowledge meshes nicely with the alphabetized treats he bestows ("B is for biscuit! That's for you!" he says to the sheep). The artwork's warm golden hues and soft edges reflect the gentleness and mutual respect between boy and animals, and the overheard dialogue between the barnyard residents will invite youngsters to chime in with the baas and moos. Tommy's enthusiasm for his first day of school, wrapped within this story of friendship, will send a reassuring message to would-be kindergartners. Ages 4-up. (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Sheilah Egan
Tommy usually visits his barn animal friends every morning. On this particular day the Horse, Cow, Sheep and Hen are a bit concerned because Tommy is late. They ponder where he might be, as they recall the treats he usually brings and the little songs he sings to soothe them. Dog comes along (not a particular favorite as he barks excessively and is known to steal food) and reports that Tommy went off in a yellow bus to a "place called Kindergarten." Now, the animals discuss whether or not he will "ever return" and just what he might be doing in the mysterious place. In an aside to the reader it is noted that "if you had been there, listening in, it would probably have sounded like this: Nay Cluck Moo Baa Nay," etc. Tommy is joyous upon his return in the afternoon and shares with his animal friends all of the things he has learned "in just one day." He recites "A is for Apple" as he gives Horse his treat; and, "B is for Biscuit!" when he feeds and scratches Sheep. Each animal receives special attention and another letter of the alphabet up to D (dandelions for Cow). Tomorrow will cover E, F, G and H, which is for Horse, of course. After singing a new song, Tommy trots off to his own dinner. As the animals settle down for the night, they wonder what comes after H. Horse assures all that "He'll tell us tomorrow.after he goes to Kindergarten." The illustrations are gently humorous drawings with soft colors on uncluttered areas which include plenty of space for the imagination to roam. The animals' expressions are wonderful (in fact, they are just perfect) and Tommy is an exuberant little fellow whose countenance is filled with the joy of learning and the love of his friends.
School Library Journal
PreS-K-When the youngster who normally visits the barn every morning fails to appear, the animals are left to wonder what happened to him. The dog tells them that Tommy went "to a place called Kindergarten," but that was all he knew. Will the boy ever come back from there? After a long wait and much speculation, Tommy returns to tell them about his day and introduce them to the letters A through D. The story unfolds slowly and suffers from lack of action. Its structure is fairly sophisticated for the intended audience as most of the action happens out of sight. Instead of seeing the child in school, readers see the animals waiting for him and talking among themselves (with the recurring aside that "If you'd been there, listening in, it would probably have sounded like this: `NAYCluckMOObaa-.'"). Karas's illustrations, done in his trademark sketchy style and in fairly muted colors, do little to lighten the trudging pace of this quiet story. Tales about barnyard animals and about kindergarten abound, and this one fails to separate itself from the pack.-Suzanne Myers Harold, Multnomah County Library System, Portland, OR Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A perennial topic gets a new perspective in Harper's latest. The animals in the barn are all aflutter when Tommy fails to come for his morning visit. When the Dog tells them Tommy has gone to a place called Kindergarten, their worried questions reflect the fears of all those left behind at the start of school. "Where is Kindergarten? What does it look like? What will happen to Tommy there? Will he ever come back?" Their actions that day will also be familiar to younger siblings-and anxious Moms-watching out the window, pacing and listening for that special footstep. Reassurance comes that afternoon with Tommy's visit. As he teaches them what he has learned, the animals see that Kindergarten is a great place-for them, too. There is a country feel to the muted tones of Karas's illustrations. The animals' facial expressions and body language will evoke empathy in listeners, while their translated questions will produce laughter. A must for those awaiting the return of their own kindergartener. (Picture book. 3-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142411742
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 7/3/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 482,169
  • Age range: 3 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.25 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Jessica Harper is an award-winning actress with numerous film, theatre and television roles to her credit. She’s perhaps best known for co-starring roles in such films as Woody Allen’s “Stardust Memories,” “Pennies From Heaven,” with Steve Martin and “My Favorite Year” with Peter O’Toole.  Her recordings for children have won many awards, including multiple Parents’ Choice Gold Awards and NAPPA awards. When Rounder Records released Harper’s latest recording, “Inside Out,” in 2001, the LA Times said “…children’s music doesn’t get better than this.”  In addition, Harper has written several books for children, including “I Forgot My Shoes” and “I Like Where I Am” from Penguin Putnam.

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