Friday, March 29, 2019

Review - The Day My Mom Came to Kindergarten

The Day My Mom Came to Kindergarten
by Maureen Fergus
illustrated by Mike Lowery
Date: 2013
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

"I liked kindergarten from the very 1st day," begins the narrator of this very funny and touching picture book. However, she notices, "My mom was happy for me, of course, but I got the feeling that she was also a little sad" to leave her. So one day the little girl invites her mom to join the kindergarten class for the day, which turns out to be a real learning experience --- for both of them. Somehow her mom just can't get any of the rules right: she barges to the front of the line, she shouts out without raising her hand, she slams down her scissors during Craft Time. How embarrassing! In a wonderful role reversal that will delight young children, the girl must become the patient and sometimes frustrated expert who instructs her mom on how to behave.

Author Maureen Fergus has found a unique way of telling a school story that allows children to feel rewarded about how much they know. The spare style and juvenile sensibility of the artwork by Mike Lowery perfectly conveys the hilarity of the story. This book would be a popular, entertaining read-aloud, especially for kindergartners themselves. It ties in beautifully to character education lessons on patience or perseverance. The little girl is a wonderful role model for how to be generous and kind to others who are struggling with something new, while also providing a humorous lesson on why it's important to follow the rules.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is a pretty funny picture book, although I question how much kindergartners are going to get out of it. Much of the appeal is probably going to be to the adults reading the book aloud.

One day, the narrator asks her mom if she'd like to stay and experience kindergarten. The mom agrees, but things start off badly as she immediately begins to break all the rules. The narrator watches with increasing exasperation and embarrassment as her mom cuts in line, leaves her dirty shoes outside the cubby, and has a minor hissy fit when she can't get the scissors to work (to be fair, though, maybe she was right-handed and got stuck with a pair of left-handed scissors to cut out her paper; I still have clear memories of that futile activity in school). By the end of the day, the narrator's just about had it with her mom's behaviour. But her teacher reminds her that kindergarten is new to her mom, and they need to be patient. Sure enough, the mom starts to get the hang of things, and though she turns down the offer of returning the next day, both mom and daughter seem to have learned to appreciate how each spends their day.

The illustrations are simple, but they work well enough here. The real star is the text, and although it seems a bit advanced for the age group (I doubt a real kindergartner would speak the way the narrator does), it helps convey the point of the story. I might recommend this for precocious kindergartners, or maybe even kids slightly older than that who can remember what it was like to be new to school (and can therefore relate to the bumbling mom).

Quotable moment:

Premise: 4/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall: 3.5 out of 5

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