Preschool Day Hooray!

25Sep10
cover illustration by Hiroe Nakata

image from Amazon

It’s always a pleasure to look at a good picture book. I’ve talked before about the experience of being “held” by a book and how it really is part and parcel of the experience of reading–a part that comes (at least in part) from actually being held while your mother read to you lo those many years ago. And the books that you read to your own preschoolers give them the roots of a love of reading that can last a lifetime. Important stuff.

Linda Leopold Strauss’ newest book is Preschool Day Hooray!, illustrated by Hiroe Nakata. It has so many things going right for it that I almost feel guilty singling out the one I liked best. I’m going to anyway, but I’ll save the best for last.

First, Hiroe Nakata’s illustrations are bright and childlike without being childish. There are sweet details in the background that allow the child in your lap to discover little things for herself or himself. In one frame it’s a child who’s wandered off on the playground and discovered a line of ants, in another a spilled drink and the heart on a cookie.

Find my mat/And make a nest.

Shhhh! I need to/Take a rest.

The text itself is simple, rhythmic and rhyming. One typical preschool day is presented . . . no huge situations or problems . . . the audience here is eighteen to thirty-six months and they don’t need problems and situations. Preschool itself is the situation, and the rhythmic, repetitive rehearsal of a day that goes by without trauma helps them to deal with separating from parents for the big outside world of preschool.

The day starts with a messy breakfast, then mommy brings the child to school, and the illustration shows him happy and still holding hands with mother, his younger sister in a snuggly in front of mom. Someone else is there at the door holding onto her daddy’s leg–you can’t see her expression, but the anxiety about separation is acknowledged.

The events of the day are dealt with in sequence, most with a double page spread, and we get to play with glue, go out on the playground, get a snack and have music time. I missed reading time, though.

At the end of the day there’s a nice symmetry: we came in with Hi to teacher,/ Coat on hook. When we leave we’re prepared for it by putting away the toys and getting our coat from the hook.

Which does bring us to a little touch, what they’d call a lagnappe down in New Orleans.

The children are ready to leave and they say bye to their friends,and where is our child on the last page? The page opens up to a three page spread and he’s there hugging mommy and sister, and the final line in the book is, It’s Mommy time!

The reverse opening of the last page to reveal that final hug tells us how important it really is.

18-48 months. The publisher says 4-8 year old reading level, but this is a read-to book. Highly recommended.

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One Response to “Preschool Day Hooray!”

  1. I love preschool books! I lap them up for my children as fast as I can. Even when they were little I would read to them over and over again. I grew up with a mom who instilled the value of reading onto me and I want to do the same with my kids.

    This looks like a good read, will definitely look into them. Thanks! I started off with the Brainy Baby Educational Books (ABCs, Numbers, Animals, etc) but my children have outgrown them =)


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