Now that the new books are coming into my library, I can pick up The Thursday Three again. With school just around the corner (Wahhhh!), here are some new going-to-school titles.
Splat the Cat, by Rob Scotton
Definitely the best of the bunch, and one that will be appreciated by the widest range of readers. Scotton, of Russell the Sheep fame, brings his humorous and fantastically off-beat illustrations to the world of cats — plus a mouse. Splat is worried about his first day at Cat School. If you’re not sure that he’s really worried, look at his big, wide eyes. He tries to hide, and stall, and even hang onto the gate, but his mom gets him to school. There he learns that cats chase mice. Hold it! Splat has a pet mouse! That he brought to school! This isn’t going to be good for anybody. But of course it is, and all the cats learn a new lesson. All-around wonderful book.
Keisha Ann Can! by Daniel Kirk
This isn’t Keisha Ann’s first day at school, but she shows how it’s done with cheer and confidence. She catches the bus, waits in line, passes out paints, shares with classmates, and takes turns. This book represents an interesting — and needed — approach to going-to-school literature by focusing on the positive. I also liked that the girl was African-American, as I would like to see more children of color in books. Newest reports say that 44 percent of children in the United States are now minorities. Perhaps we might want to show more of them in books. Not just for them, but so all children can see kids of different races featured in stories. Keisha Ann Can! is simple in language, making it best for the preschool or first day of kindergarten crowd.
Jake Starts School, by Michael Wright
When we last saw Jake, his parents were trying to get him to sleep by going everywhere around the house with him. Well, Jake is still having separation issues at school, where he cannot let go of his parents. He literally clings to them through the whole day, making the seesaw hard and bathroom breaks impossible. The teacher is finally able to engage him with a book with the same name as his dog, and Jake finds his school groove. Bright and wacky illustrations fit the silly — and sometimes strained — rhyming text. (“There it was, Room Number 1/where Jake would join his class./It looked so big, he felt so small,/he passed a little gas.”) Not my favorite book, but kids may enjoy the silliness.