Off to First Grade

Book review by
Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media
Off to First Grade Book Poster Image
Kids from A to Z get ready for first grade fun.

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Kids say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Though they are animal caricatures, characters are helpful, friendly, and supportive.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the alphabetic sequence, clever names, and simple poetic format make this book fun. Coupled with the playful images, it presents a positive message that kids, especially new first graders, will enjoy.

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Kid, 10 years old April 5, 2009

What's the story?

Presented alphabetically, 23 different kids, as well as their teacher Mrs. Miller, the principal Mr. Zimmerman, and even the bus driver Xavier, share thoughts, worries, and plans as they get ready for the first day of first grade. Some are excited, others worried, and others are just taking it in stride.

Is it any good?

At first glance, with its anthropomorphic animals, each lightly outlined and filled with sensitive watercolor, OFF TO FIRST GRADE easily could be a Richard Scarry book. The characters are friendly looking animal caricatures -- dogs, cats, lions, rabbits, etc. -- all fully clothed and driving cars, playing instruments, and going to school. Kids will be drawn in by the playfulness of the illustrations as well as by the clever names of the students and their heartfelt stories.

More than a story, this is a chronicle of thoughts, including those of the teacher, the principal, and the bus driver as they each get ready. Beginning with Anna (for A), who is excitedly marking her calendar and counting the days; to Ignacio (for I), a new immigrant to America who hopes to learn English; to Whit and Yoshi, who are more than a little worried and concerned, all characters have something different on their minds. Told in simple language formatted in poetic stanzas that are artfully placed around the captivating illustrations, this imaginative book offers something for all readers, especially those who are soon off to the first grade and feeling a little uncertain. Kids will love it!

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the first grade of course: expectations and adventures, both in the book and in their real lives. What does each of the characters think Mrs. Miller's class is going to be like? Which student is most like you? Or do you expect other things in the first grade? What do you think the kids, and your teacher, are doing to get ready for the first day?

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