With the start of the summer holidays many parents have forgotten about school and are enjoying long, lazy, (hopefully!) warm summer days. However, one group of parents will spend the summer counting down to their child’s first day of school and all the excitement and uncertainty that it brings. Starting school doesn’t just impact the child but the whole family, often the first day at school is emotional and overwhelming for parents too. My daughter is starting school aged six and we’re all ready for the big day but for many young children and their parents, going to school for the first time can be emotionally difficult, very tiring and full of questions and uncertainties.
My daughter’s favourite first day at school picture book is Lucky Wish Mouse Starting School by Clara Vulliamy. Lucky Wish Mouse is preparing her Ten Tinies for their first day at school but the Tiny Twins are worried and share their fears and uncertainties with her before they leave. Lucky Wish Mouse reassures them and when she returns to collect them, all Ten Tinies have had a wonderfully busy and exciting first day.
Clara Vulliamy’s text and illustrations are full of humour, from the balloon ride to school, the wonderful details in the classroom scene and the way she sensitively conveys and resolves The Tiny Twin’s fears and ensures that all Ten Tinies return home happy after a busy, exciting day. We now have our own copy (after borrowing the book several times from the library) and the details in the classroom scene have stimulated many discussions and answered many of my daughter’s questions.
You can read our full review here.
I would like to thank book bloggers, who have also experienced the first day of school with their own children, for recommending their favourite picture books for preparing children for starting school. They’ve suggested some lovely books (this post is the first of two) so if you’re spending time at the library this summer look out for their recommendations.
Carmen from Rhino Reads has chosen Martha and the Bunny Brothers – I Heart School, also written and illustrated by Clara Vulliamy.
‘Picture books are little windows that help children see and understand the world around them and their developing role in it. With children starting school as early as four years old, picture books become a hugely valuable resource. They enable children to experience school vicariously through their picture book characters and prepare for their own turn at the school gates.
My absolute favourite starting school book, and the one I use through The Rainbow Library, is Martha and the Bunny Brothers – I Heart School. I love it because it is packed with positive experiences to reassure and excite children. It follows Martha as she excitedly prepares for her first day at school. Each page is like a sunny party, bursting with colour and fun, the energy and excitement bouncing off each page. The smallest task becomes an adventure and the book celebrates all the things young children hold dear – their favourite toys, their favourite clothes, their creativity and imagination.
If you want a book that will leave children bouncing at the door with excitement, desperate to get to school for their first adventure, then this is the book for you. Couple it with Martha and the Bunny Brothers – I Heart Holidays and you’re set for summer.’
You can read Carmen’s full review here.
Zoe from Playing by the Book chose My Busy Being Bella Day by Rebecca Patterson.
‘Starting school can seem like drawing the short straw when a younger sibling gets to stay with mum and go to cafes and the park, but My Busy Being Bella Day by Rebecca Patterson shows just how much fun school and nursery can be, with brilliant, true-to-life observations and an enormous dose of humour.
Charming, observant illustrations show many aspects of school life, helping a young listener become familiar with activities they are likely to encounter and enjoy. The gentle exploration of sibling jealousy and love make this a perfect book to pair with Martha and the Bunny Brothers: I Heart School.
Bella is one of the spunkiest little kids in the picture book world, reminding me a little of a young Pippi Longstocking; with such a terrific character, this reassuring, positive exploration of the fears and anxieties surrounding starting school is not only enormous fun but also a very helpful read.’
A big thank you to Zoe and Carmen. We have more recommendations coming up from Phil and Charlotte, Loll, Anne-Marie and Damyanti in a second blogpost ‘Book bloggers recommend starting school picture books (2)’. If you have a favourite picture book that has helped with the transition from pre school to school we would love to hear about it in the comments.
You can find more starting school book suggestions on Story Snug’s Pinterest board;