1, 2, 3, Off to School! by Marianne Dubuc. Translation by Yvette Ghione. Kids Can Press, 2021. 9781525306563
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
Genre: Picture book
What did you like about the book? Pom is so excited about starting kindergarten next year that they decide to visit all the schools in the neighborhood. First off is the Nutcracker School, where mouselings go, then Hopalot School for rabbits. After that they go to Cattail Academy (froglets), Foxtrott School (foxes), Honeycomb School (bear cubs), and on to other schools for sloths, squirrels, wolf pups, turtles, and hedgehogs. At each school, Dubuc’s beloved cross-sections show myriad rooms, activities, and details, along with dialogue between the little ones as they learn. When Pom eventually returns home to Momo at the end of the day, they tell of all the things they will learn and do at school.
This is such a charming book from beginning to end. Pom is a little gnome, wearing a red pointed hat, just like their Momo. There are so many details and activities in each of the miniature schools for observant readers to pore over – the bear cubs eating jam sandwiches, the froglets singing about flies, the squirrels playing badminton with acorns. And there are pop-up fairy tale characters around with some of the animals that figure in their stories. I love that Pom uses they/them pronouns, so that every child lucky enough to read this book can imagine themself as a cute little gnome.
Anything you didn’t like about it? No
To whom would you recommend this book? I would offer this to families of kids about to start nursery school or kindergarten. This would also go over well with kids who love seek and find, as there is so much detail to pore over, as well as fans of animals and gnomes.
Who should buy this book? Day care centers and public libraries
Where would you shelve it ? Picture books
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: June 28, 2021