Format: Picture Book
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
Genre: Picture Book
What did you like about the book? Neubecker’s stylized illustrations return with the charming brother/sister duo from Winter is for Snow. The older brother has many arguments against attending school, but his younger sister dissuades him with magical scenes from her imagination that come to life on the route to their new classrooms; mummies appear at the shoe shop and dinosaurs roam past the bakery! The verses on each page move smoothly between the characters while the visual elements are fun and appealing. The small girl builds enthusiasm about learning new things and attending school for another year, eventually triumphing as the brother realizes that school has something for him as well.
One tricky subject the books attempts to tackle is students being reluctant as they don’t feel “smart enough” for school; though it is only briefly mentioned, this fear is becoming more common and something that should be addressed more often.
Anything you didn’t like about it? There are a few pieces that leave the book lacking. For one, the brother has swift change of heart instead of presenting a slow transformation that might be more realistic and accessible to kids. Additionally, the mention of Halloween makes this more difficult to share in a school or library setting that avoids holidays for rounded inclusion.
To whom would you recommend this book? Recommended as a back-to school book for grades 1-2. In both a family and classroom setting, students will be able to identify with one of the protagonists and hopefully gain a little more insight into how fun school can be.
Who should buy this book? Childrens’ library collections (public and school)
Where would you shelve it ? Picture Book Collection
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Not really. It can be an additional purchase for “fall” or “back-to-school” collection themes
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Melissa McCleary, Pembroke Public Library, Pembroke, MA
Date of review: July 22, 2017