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