1, 2, 3, Off to School!
1, 2, 3, Off to School!
This morning, Pom packed a schoolbag, prepared a snack and put on new shoes. Pom is all set for the first day of kindergarten.
“But, Pom,” exclaimed Momo, “you don’t start school until next year!”
Momo didn’t realize that Pom had a plan.
It’s the first day of school in the forest, and all the animals are on their way to learn and play. Pom wants to go too, but they are too young to start kindergarten this year. Instead, they set out to observe the routines and lessons at all the different animal schools. From the mouselings’ morning drop off, to the bear cubs’ lunchtime, all the way to the hedgehogs’ home time, Pom watches all the wonderful things there are to do at school. When at last the day is done, Pom goes home to share with Momo their plan to learn, create, exercise, share, and explore in school the next year – just like their animal friends!
There is so much to see and experience in this beautiful book. The simple story takes Pom and the reader through an average day at primary school, but each page turn offers multitudes of discoveries. The illustrations are so thoughtful and detailed with each group of animals showcasing the many possibilities held within a day. Children can spend hours diving deeper into each zone. For example, the frog’s art class has so much to see, with its subtle lessons on inclusion, hidden wonders just on the surface of the pond, and the sight gag with the cattail paintbrush. Every page is bright and colourful and full of action.
I also appreciate how Pom is a quiet, genderless observer, allowing all children to see themselves in the big new adventure that is starting kindergarten. They are present on every page, communicating the excitement and wonder of each school routine, but they do not overpower or preach. Diverse experiences are represented at each school, and Pom brings the reader along at their own pace.
1, 2, 3, Off to School! is such a wonderful book to include in the preparation for kindergarten. It can be shared out loud and then pored over independently. It can open up important discussions about transitions, changing routines, expectations, and apprehensions, but it is also adorable and fun.
Amber Allen is a librarian in Guelph, Ontario, with a passion for children’s literature.