Planet Kindergarten

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Planet Kindergarten Book Poster Image
Space mission a fun metaphor for starting kindergarten.

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Shows kids what kindergarten is like, even though it's in the context of exploring another planet. Also gives kids some space-travel vocabulary such as "blastoff," "capsule," "oxygen," "escape hatch," "mission control," and "NASA."

Positive Messages

Prepare well for new adventures. Hang in there and don't give up when you start to get homesick or miss your parents. Be willing to try new things. You can make new friends in a strange new setting. It's comforting to come back home after a new adventure.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The little boy main character approaches his mission seriously, goes into it well prepared, is upbeat about trying new things, and takes to heart the idea that "failure is not an option." He's also not afraid to admit he's scared or homesick. His parents are loving, encouraging, and comforting. His teacher is welcoming, and his classmates seem nice. He and another kid have a conflict over a ball at recess, but he recognizes it as a simple disagreement. He's responsible and puts his trash away at lunch.

Violence & Scariness

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

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. 

Talk to your kids 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.

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love books about school

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate