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Kid Konnection: Emily’s First Day of School

June 19, 2010

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book aimed at the 4 to 6 year old market, but when I received Emily’s First Day of School, by Sarah, Duchess of York, at the Children’s Author Breakfast at BEA, I thought it would be a great book to feature for Kid Konnection, a weekly feature on Booking Mama.

Emily’s First Day of School was written to help children face the new experience of going to school and being away from their parents.  This book is geared toward children who haven’t been in daycare or pre-school, which seems a little unrealistic to me in this day and time.  I think the story is written well enough for the intended audience, but there are a couple of things that bothered me – I felt like it could have addressed the fears Emily might have better, and I didn’t think the portrayal of kindergarten was that accurate.  At least in the places we’ve lived, kindergarten is more academic than it comes across in this book.

The thing that bothered me the most in Emily’s First Day of School, though, is the lack of diversity of the characters in the drawings.    The drawings are cute, but all of the people, except one have the same skin tone.  After I read the book, I passed it over to Carl, without saying anything, and asked him to flip through it and give me his first impression.  The lack of diversity was the first thing he noticed too.

There is a nice section in the back written by child psychologist, Dr. Richard Woolfson, PhD that gives “Ten Helpful Hints for Parents of Children who are Starting School.

Emily’s First Day of School isn’t a bad book, but, if you’re looking for a book about starting school,  I think you can find better.

For more children’s books reviews, go to Booking Mama’s feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week,  leave a comment as well as a link on her site.

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17 Comments leave one →
  1. June 19, 2010 5:50 am

    Interesting that you point out that lack of diversity. When illustrating IS YOUR BUFFALO READY FOR KINDERGARTEN?, Daniel paid special attention to making sure the children in the classroom were ethnically diverse. The book is finally coming out next Tuesday! I hope you like it!

  2. June 19, 2010 7:07 am

    I agree with you completely. The idea of the book is fine, but the execution could have been better, especially in the diversity department.

  3. June 19, 2010 7:49 am

    Enjoyed the review. Sounds like an interesting book for youngsters that could have been a lot better.

    Thoughts in Progress

  4. June 19, 2010 8:11 am

    I wasn’t all that impressed with it when I skimmed through it either. I guess I should read it to Booking Son and get his impressions. I agree with Lenore that her husband’s book is much better!

  5. June 19, 2010 8:51 am

    Thanks Julie! 🙂

  6. Helen Ginger permalink
    June 19, 2010 9:35 am

    Very interesting. I’m surprised someone didn’t point out those flaws before it went to press.

  7. June 19, 2010 10:02 am

    My daughter hasn’t been in daycare or preschool, and she starts kindergarten this fall. I know it’s not common for kids to just stay home with their moms anymore, but I think I’m not the only one.

  8. June 19, 2010 11:50 am

    I think the concept of pre-care or daycare still doesn’t exist in many other countries. I hope it becomes more prominent, but a lot depends on govt funds.

    I find it really disappointing that most of the characters are of the same skin tone. With so many debates and discussions happening around – that children need to grow up seeing cultural diversity in books, I find this a huge oversight.

  9. June 19, 2010 12:47 pm

    I missed the Children’s Author Breakfast at BEA due to major traffic at the Lincoln Tunnel, and was bummed that I missed out on the books they gave.

    Now, I’m not so bummed I missed this one. My little guy is starting Kindergarten in September, and I am keeping my eye out for great books on the subject (they only have their first day of Kindergarten once!). I think I’ll skip this one.

    Thanks for the review!

  10. June 19, 2010 12:56 pm

    Sounds like a good book but with a little info missing. Have a great day!

    Just Books

  11. June 19, 2010 2:37 pm

    Nice review. I wonder if they’re not as conscious of making an effort as we are here? You would think they would be, with the very great diversity in the cities…

  12. June 19, 2010 3:10 pm

    Kathy, thanks for your honest review.

  13. June 19, 2010 10:14 pm

    Sorry to hear this one is a bit disappointing.

  14. June 19, 2010 10:21 pm

    Sad that it didn’t have the diversity that you were hoping for. I wonder how much Fergie actually contributed to this story???

  15. June 19, 2010 10:36 pm

    I believe there is a need for this type of book but it doesn’t sound like this one measures up. I know we are very conscious of this issue here in the US but I can’t believe they aren’t also in the UK. Good review Kathy.

  16. June 20, 2010 1:47 am

    This book definitely seems like it would only appeal to a very narrow audience. The lack of diversity thing makes it a no go for me.

  17. June 20, 2010 8:03 am

    I was so excited when I saw that you were reviewing a back to school book. As a first grade teacher I’m always looking for new back to school books. But the lack of diversity is a big turn off for me. Last year, I had 8 countries represented in my class of 17. I need books that celebrate the diversity in my classroom.

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