What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Planet Kindergarten is a playful twist on pre-kindergarten jitters that should speak to any kid with a taste for space travel. Approaching the start of school as if he's on an intergalactic mission, a little boy prepares for blastoff, and then, like a human Buzz Lightyear, logs his observations about this strange new planet that's so far from his home planet. The story's cute, clever, and reassuring, as he conquers his fears and accomplishes his mission.
What's the story?
A little boy approaches starting kindergarten like a rocket launch. "The countdown started," he notes before the title page. The doctor cleared him for liftoff, and he and Mom got lots of supplies (pencils, notebooks). Then, "Blastoff!" and he's "ready to explore." He's "assigned to my new commander" (the teacher), and his parents "are sent back to their own planets." He's now on Planet Kindergarten with other aliens "from many galaxies." He gets homesick and looks for the escape hatch, then remembers what they say at NASA -- "Failure is not an option" -- and he makes it through the day -- "Mission accomplished!" -- and returns to his home planet for "splashdown" (his evening bath).
Is it any good?
The book embraces its aerospace metaphor, coming up with clever equivalents such as the teacher's "flight plan for the day" and gravity being different so we "have to try hard to stay in our seats." Recess is a time to "test the conditions outside our capsule."
Illustrator Shane Prigmore's angular, futuristic, cartoon-like art is colorful, cheery, and engaging, in keeping with the upbeat, empowering tone of the story of a boy who conquers his fears and boldly goes where many have gone before.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about starting kindergarten. Is there anything scary about it? What new things do you expect to do there?
Why do kids like picture books about rockets and space travel? What would be fun about traveling in a rocket ship and exploring a new planet?
Is it fun to think of going to a new place as if you were on a mission in outer space? Think of another place you could approach like that. How about a trip to the grocery store? Draw a picture of that planet.