Anyway, I combined the letters J and K because I never did an actual storytime for either, so I was kind of working from scratch. Also, I don’t have Cybils-nominated books for either letter — at least that I’ve received yet — so I’m highlighting two school-themed picture books that I’ve reviewed before.
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.”) I can’t call this my favorite book, but kids will enjoy the silly take on starting school.
by J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by Alice Busby
The kindergarteners come to school to find that their room has its own cat — and what a smart kitty she is! She may not know her colors or numbers, but she listens to the teacher’s lessons and responds. And boy, is she cute. While many books approach kindergarten with a list of all the things kids do, this slight story allows the reader to see what happens in a more natural way. The illustrations are engaging with a childlike feel, rich colors, and a diverse class. The rhyming couplets seem a bit strained, but it’s unlikely to bother the target audience, who will be thrilled with the idea of a cat in a classroom as even a remote possibility.
Consider giving these books with fun school supplies like a Hello Kitty set or some scented markers, or look for 105 other ways to give a book and 45 ways to give a picture book.
The Letters J and K
Book: This is the House that Jack Built, by Simms Taback
Rhyme: “Jack and the Candlestick”
Jack be nimble, Jack be quickBook: One, Two, Three... Jump! by Penelope Lively
Jack jump over the candlestick.
Book: I Love You, Blue Kangaroo, by Emma Chichester Clark
Fingerplay: “The Brown Kangaroo”
The brown kangaroo is very funnyBook: Katie Loves the Kittens, by John Himmelman
She leaps and runs and hops like a bunny
(two fingers up and hop)
And on her stomach is a pocket so wide
(place other hand on tummy)
Her baby can jump in and go for a ride
(first hand jumps into “pocket”)
Fingerplay: “Five Little Kittens”
Five little kittens standing in a rowAlternate Books: A Kiss Like This, by Catherine Anholt; Jumpy Jack and Googily, by Meg Rosoff, and Knuffle Bunny, by Mo Willems.
(hold up five fingers)
They nod their heads to the children so
They run to the left, they run to the right
(run fingers to the left and then to the right)
They stand up and stretch in the bright sunlight
(stretch fingers out tall)
Along comes a dog who’s in for some fun
(hold up one finger from opposite hand)
MEOW! See those little kittens run!
(let fingers run)
Go here for more on how to win twenty-five picture books in the ABC Giveaway.
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