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Countdown to Kindergarten

Press:Live Oak Media Live Oak Media (January 30, 2007)
Author Name:McGhee, Alison/ Bliss, Harry (ILT)


It's just ten days before kindergarten, and this little girl has heard all there is to know--from a first grader--about what it's going to be like. 
You can't bring your cat, you can't bring a stuffed animal, and the number one rule? You can't ask anyone for help.
So what do you do when your shoes come untied, if you're the only one in the class who doesn't know how to tie them up again? Told with gentle humor by Alison McGhee and brought to exuberant life by New Yorker cartoonist Harry Bliss, this lighthearted take on pre-kindergarten anxiety will bring a smile to the face of every child--and parent--having first-day jitters.

From School Library Journal

reSchool-K-Through the grapevine, an about-to-be kindergartner learns that there are lots of rules at school. 
Rules #3 and #2 prevent students from bringing stuffed animals or their cats to class.
Rule #1 is a bit more serious.
"You have to know how to tie your shoes.
By yourself.
You're not allowed to ask for help.
Ever." Even a child who can count backward from 10 or feed her cat by herself can feel inadequate.
As the 10 days before school wind down, she worries that she will be labeled "Velcro Girl" and finds endless ways to cover the gap in her skills through the destruction of her shoes and/or laces.
Bliss presents the heroine with large-eyed innocence and humorous details.
The pace varies nicely with changes in font size, full- and partial-page illustrations, speech balloons, and a daily countdown toward the big day.
A strong dose of adult patience and a bit of peer support round out this youngster's first educational challenge.Mary Elam, Forman Elementary School, Plano, TXCopyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

These books offer different, but complementary, views of the kindergarten experience.
The first deals with a child's anxieties before starting school; the second celebrates the experience of a happy kindergarten class.In Countdown, the narrator is so worried that she can't yet tie her shoes and so unnerved by the bogus kindergarten rules she has heard from a first-grader that she suffers mightily during the 10 days before school starts.
Tying lessons from her father, a spaghetti dinner--nothing seems to help until she goes to school and discovers that most of the other kindergartners can't tie their laces either.
The sly humor in both the first-person narrative and the speech-balloon comments is amplified in the expressive, ink-and-watercolor illustrations by New Yorker cartoonist Bliss.
The deadpan and (occasionally) over-the-top wit makes this a terrific choice for reading aloud.
And even if young children won't get the reference to Phoebe Caulfield for another dozen years, it won't diminish their empathy for the child's anxiety, their pleasure in her relief, or their enjoyment of this funny picture book.
As bright and cheerful as a new box of crayons, Rogers' simple offering follows a kindergarten class through 26 days of the year: A day, B day, and so on, down the alphabet.
In this multiracial class, led by one of the few black, male teachers in picture books, the children participate in alphabetically linked activities from acorn gathering to a zoo trip.
The same children reappear in the appealing paintings, which illustrate the sometimes quiet, sometimes exuberant activities of this happy classroom.
Parents and kindergarten teachers will find this a well-designed alphabet book that lists things to look for on each page: "railroad tracks / rugs / ruler." Preschoolers will be intrigued to see what kindergartners actually do all day.
Carolyn PhelanCopyright © American Library Association.
All rights reserved

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"A great book for easing the worries of a kindergartner."--"Boston Herald" "Witty . 
an amiable exploration of new-school anxiety."--"Publishers Weekly"

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Hardcover edition 20020-15-202516-2

About the Author

ALISON McGHEE is the author of the novels Shadow Baby and Rainlight, which was awarded the Great Lakes College Association New Writers Award and the Minnesota Book Award. 
Countdown to Kindergarten is her first book for children.
She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.HARRY BLISS is a regular cartoonist for The New Yorker, and the illustrator of A Fine, Fine School and Which Would You Rather Be? He lives in Vermont.

From AudioFile

Does anyone except the heroine know about Kindergarten Rule Number One? (Tie your shoes by yourself!) Does anyone care that the heroine CANNOT tie her shoes but CAN count backwards from 10? The days before the start of school are anguishing as one horrible event after another is imagined. 
Mom and Dad reassure cheerfully, but the time to walk into the classroom arrives too soon.
Rachael Lillis narrates with the straightforward verve of a 5-year-old.
Her anguish and quiet despair are palpable.
Echoing sound effects underscore the relentless countdown, and background conversations underscore the humor.
© AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Comment List (Total:14)

  •     Grandson started kindergarten. Lived it!

  •     Awful book. Given to me as a hand me down from a family member. Started reading it to my five year old daughter. Stopped mid book. Going to throw it away.

  •     Highly recommend this for any child going into kindergarten. Clever, well-written, and put my daughter's mind at ease.

  •     The ending may be okay in that the girl learns she's not alone in her inability to tie her shoes, but the message throughout the rest of the book is all wrong.

  •     My son is very happy.

  •     I didn't really like the flow of the book. It was too dark. A much better book is Kindergarten Rocks!

  •     my granddaughter really enjoyed the book

  •     Another great one to read to kinders, preferably on a meet the teacher night. It will help them get ready for school.

  •     Very good book. Cute and funny little story!

  •     The book serves it purpose. It take a bit to resolve, but eventually does. My daughter seemed to like it.

  •     I would never read this to my child or any child. The writing and illustrations are negative and would make any child afraid of kindergarten. Ridiculous!

  •     Perfect book for little ones entering Kindergarten. My boys loved it.

  •     My 5 yr old granddaughter loved this book. I believe it helped to qualm any fears she had about her 1st day of school. It relates to a fear (of not knowing how to tie my shoes) and how "you aren't supposed to ask for help"...and makes the child realize that all of the children are in the same boat and will need help with several things until they can master it themselves. As a mental health professional, I was concerned about some of the reviews (it scared my child) until I received the book. It provides a great opportunity for the parent/grandparent to share some of their first day of school concerns from yesteryear. I recommend this book. I would suggest that the parent read it first and then read with the child and have some dialog about it. Starting Kindergarten is scary, no matter what the child says...and they will need some support and reassurance that they will be fine.

  •     See this review and more at: http://idiosyncraticlibrary.com/With every day that passes, the unnamed star of Countdown to Kindergarten, becomes more and more frantic,...


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