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!