written by Sue Ganz-Schmitt
illustrated by Shane Prigmore
Chronicle Books 7/01/2014
Age 4 to 8 32 pages
“Today is liftoff. ‘You are well prepared,’ says Dad. Mom counts down. Into the rocket ship . . . the boosters fire, and we launch. I’m off to PLANET KINDERGARTEN. Suit up for a daring adventure as our hero navigates the unknown reaches and alien inhabitants of a plante called . . . Kindergarten. This clever book will prepare young explorers for their next mission—whether it’s a strange new world, or somewhere much closer to home.”
“We arrived at the base camp, then orbit while we look for a place to dock.”
Planet Kindergarten hooked me from the pre-story pages. I love this picture book, as will little boys and girls. Kindergarten is the first time at school when you must stay without mom or dad. Very frightening. Sure , there are toys scattered about and a giant slide, and a doll house you can go into, but school . . . alone . . . take me home. The hero of Planet Kindergarten is just as leery about kindergarten. I love the use of a new planet for the school and the hero needing to climb aboard his personal rocket ship. I think I walked.
The story actually begins long before the first page. On the end page, the young boy is waking up to . . . an . . . alarm! The countdown begins for liftoff. Before that can happen, he must prepare. A calendar marks off the days until school begins, his mom takes him shopping, the dog drills him the ABC’s, a doctor passes him for takeoff, and dad helps him organize his supplies. Now it is just the alarm and it has rung louder than expected. BLAST OFF! The young boy is on his way to Planet Kindergarten. Now the story begins.
I love the author’s imagination, as will parents and kids. This is a great way to prepare kids for the first day of school, or camp, or going to Aunt I-Don’t –Want-To-Go. The author takes the major points of school and translates them into an alien adventure. Gravity is different, making it hard for the kids, I mean crewmates, to stay in their seats. Gravity also means trash must go in a bin or it will float away. Quickly, the young boy finds out what a time-out is all about as he and another boy fight over a red ball. The two become fast friends while sitting out. Mom even gives her son a Spock salute as she leaves him on his own.
Planet Kindergarten is the most imaginative book I have seen about starting school. Boys will love this, as will some girls. Planet Kindergarten looks like a boy’s book with its dark, yet bold cover of the young boy in a spacesuit against a backdrop of stars. I think reluctant readers will enjoy this picture book. The imaginative text makes Planet Kindergarten an easy and enjoyable read. I doubt parents will mind re-reading it.
The illustrations look like the young boy is on a strange planet, but with all the trappings of kindergarten. And when nap time becomes more than the young boy can handle, he remembers a NASA motto: Failure is NOT an Option. You can’t fail with Planet Kindergarten in your pre-school arsenal. Kids will love the space jokes and the alien kids (who just might look like some of their own classmates). School is in session soon. Have fun on Planet Kindergarten.
For a different perspective—one closer to kindergarten than mine—check out Erik’s review HERE!
PLANET KINDERGARTEN. Text copyright © 2-14 by Sue Ganz-Schmitt. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Shane Prigmore. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.
Learn more about Planet Kindergarten HERE.
Also by Sue Ganz-Schmitt
Also by Shane Prigmore
copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews