Timothy Goes to School

Book review by
Ann Marie Sammataro, Common Sense Media
Timothy Goes to School Book Poster Image
Reassures kids with first-day-of-school jitters.

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.

Positive Messages

Timothy, rejected by would-be friend Claude, wishes that the other boy will fail at something.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this book reassures kids that it's OK to not be perfect.

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?

Timothy gaily skips off to his first day of school with high expectations, only to have them dashed by the opinionated, self-satisfied and oh-so-accomplished Claude. Will Timothy ever find a friend? Wells's sympathetic tale and warmly drawn illustrations reassure children besieged by first-day-of-school jitters.


Is it any good?

Rosemary Wells' story is a breath of fresh air and a soothing balm for a success-oriented society. With her thumb firmly on the pulse of a child's psyche, she soothes young readers while encouraging them to persevere and discover their own Violets. While some may consider the book a bit negative in its approach to school social life, Wells offers a realistic scenario that resonates with many kids. Only a minority of children become class superstars, and the emotional repercussions for the others is a very real issue.

Bright pastel colors and clean lines dominate the full-color illustrations. Little touches, such as her subtle alterations in the shape of the character's eyes, convey depths of meaning, from Claude's rather snide sidelong glances to Timothy's anxious expressions. Young children nervous about entering school can benefit from this reassuring tale that reminds children (and their parents) that it's perfectly acceptable to be less than perfect.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about starting school. For kids who haven't started, what are you looking forward to? What are you curious about? For kids who've begun school, was your first day at all like Timothy's? Were you nervous?

Book details

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