Thursday, September 15, 2011

Read-Aloud Thursday: Kindergarten Books

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As I get back into blogging more, I hope to participate in a few more memes. It's fun, I enjoy reading them, and they help keep me accountable to my goals. :) In this case, Read-Aloud Thursday, hosted by, is all about my love of reading, kids' books and, of course, my kiddo.

Said kiddo started kindergarten this month, so our summer (and these first couple of weeks of September -- which I consider "unofficially" fall) reading has included a few of those "get ready for kindergarten" books. Two in particular that I have enjoyed are Kindergarten Day U.S.A. and China and Panda Kindergarten. (I originally saw the recommendation for the first one, at least, via Not sure about the other one -- I really wish my library's "list" function to save, well, lists of books you'd like to request in the future allowed you to annotate your entries.)

Kindergarten Day U.S.A. and China by Trish Marx and Ellen B. Senisi is a "day-in-the-life" book about a kindergarten class in upstate New York, and one on the other side of the world -- in China. The pictures are actual photographs of each of the classes, and the "plot" walks you through what each class does at each specific time of day (there's some not-so-subtle telling time education going on there).

In terms of getting ready for kindergarten this book actually did a better job of presenting the kinds of things a class would do than some of the oft-recommended others (Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten, Adventure Annie Goes to Kindergarten, etc.) that have been in our pile, many of which deal more with the feelings/worries associated with this milestone. Seeing the pictures and the description of the playground, lunchtime, listening to stories, getting along with other kids, etc. made it valuable even without the geography/cultural awareness aspect of the book.

Of course, I did also like that element of the book -- although one wishes there had been a bit more pronunciation guidance for a couple of the Chinese words (particularly on the days when the visiting grandma had to read it aloud ...), and so did Nora. She made friends this summer with a couple of little girls who were adopted from China, and she noted that the kids in the book looked like her friends. Reading the China section brought home both the similarities and the slight differences (different words, slightly different food, etc.)

Also appealing is the "gimmick" factor of the book: each half is bound upside down to other, so once you've finished Kindergarten Day U.S.A., you flip it over to read Kindergarten Day China -- or vice versa.

The second favorite among these, Panda Kindergarten by Joanne Ryder, is actually not about kids' kindergarten - it truly is about pandas. It's another true story, illustrated completely by photographs, of the pandas at the Wolong Nature Reserve in China. The photos of the baby pandas, particularly the "tiniest one" in the photo of the lineup of 16 of them (Nora took the initiative to count them herself) are awe-inducing. And they're still cute and fuzzy and lovable as they grow and play on their playground -- with a child's teeter-totter in winter -- and all collapse into naptime together. The book is mostly about how the pandas grow and how the staff cares for them (did you know that pandas often have twins, but a mother can care for only one at a time? so the staff switches them off so that both get good care, but both also have time with the mother), and only gently touches on pandas' endangerment at a level that's very appropriate for little kids. (Some of the pandas that grow up from this panda kindergarten may go back to live in the wild, and use the skills they've learned.)

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1 comment:

  1. These look like fantastic get-your-child-ready-for-K titles! I like the "gimmick" of having two contrasting issues/cultures/whatever in one book, too.

    I'm so glad you linked up to Read Aloud Thursday!