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Countdown to Kindergarten
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PreSchool-Grade 7.6cm this bibliotherapeutic book written by Alison McGhee and illustrated by Harry Bliss (Harcourt, 2002), a five-year-old girl struggles with her fears in the ten days leading up to her first day of kindergarten. She channels her fears through the anxiety caused by her inability to tie her shoe laces, a requirement for kindergarten. As the first day of school approaches, the young heroine grows increasingly dramatic as her last-ditch efforts to learn to tie or rid herself of the offending shoes are thwarted. The narration by Rachael Lillis is well paced and appropriately bouncy and childlike. Much of the story is told in thought balloons and included in the illustrations, potentially creating an uneven narrative flow, but the sound effects and varying voices help keep the story moving along with minimal confusion. One track of the recording has page-turn chimes and the other is straight narration. This pleasant package could help youngsters heading off to kindergarten face their first-day fears-Jennifer Iserman, Dakota County Library, Burnhaven Branch, Burnshide, MN
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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About the Author

ALISON McGHEE is the author of the novels Shadow Baby and Rainlight, which was awarded the Great Lakes College Association New Writers Award and the Minnesota Book Award. Countdown to Kindergarten is her first book for children. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. HARRY BLISS is a regular cartoonist for The New Yorker, and the illustrator of A Fine, Fine School and Which Would You Rather Be? He lives in Vermont.

Reviews

PreS-Gr 3-In this bibliotherapeutic book written by Alison McGhee and illustrated by Harry Bliss (Harcourt, 2002), a five-year-old girl struggles with her fears in the ten days leading up to her first day of kindergarten. She channels her fears through the anxiety caused by her inability to tie her shoe laces, a requirement for kindergarten. As the first day of school approaches, the young heroine grows increasingly dramatic as her last-ditch efforts to learn to tie or rid herself of the offending shoes are thwarted. The narration by Rachael Lillis is well paced and appropriately bouncy and childlike. Much of the story is told in thought balloons and included in the illustrations, potentially creating an uneven narrative flow, but the sound effects and varying voices help keep the story moving along with minimal confusion. One track of the recording has page-turn chimes and the other is straight narration. This pleasant package could help youngsters heading off to kindergarten face their first-day fears-Jennifer Iserman, Dakota County Library, Burnhaven Branch, Burnshide, MN Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Ten days before kindergarten starts, a dark-haired girl wakes up in a panic. "I've heard from a first grader that they have a lot of rules there," she confides, locking eyes with the audience. "You have to know how to tie your shoes. By yourself." Days nine, eight, seven and so on bring various shoelace disasters. The girl tangles the laces around her cat by accident; she drenches them with syrup on purpose. At dinner, her father jokes, "How's your bowl of shoelaces I mean spaghetti?" If all the girl's fears are for naught, at least they provide her with a conversation opener: at kindergarten, she commiserates with one, then two, then three new friends who can't tie their shoes either. In this witty children's debut, novelist McGhee (Rainlight) combines a puckishly structured counting book like Peggy Rathmann's Ten Minutes Till Bedtime with an amiable exploration of new-school anxiety. Bliss (Which Would You Rather Be?) makes skillful use of voice bubbles and cartoon gestures, surrounding the narrator with a teddy bear, a rag doll and a sympathetic, precocious tabby that recalls the bookish dog he created for A Fine, Fine School. Subtle details surface with every rereading. Ages 3-7. (Aug.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

"A great book for easing the worries of a kindergartner."--Boston Herald "Witty . . . an amiable exploration of new-school anxiety."--Publishers Weekly

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