Timothy Goes to School Book Poster Image

Timothy Goes to School



Reassures kids with first-day-of-school jitters.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

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

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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.

Families can talk 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

Author:Rosemary Wells
Illustrator:Rosemary Wells
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Penguin Group
Publication date:January 1, 1981
Number of pages:28

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
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  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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