Review by New York Times Review
"Shake your eggs high! Shake your eggs low!" Sound familiar? You've been to those neighborhood classes that introduce many toddlers (and parents) to music - and organized learning. But as Weinstone, the former punk rocker behind the popular Music for Aardvarks program, knows, not every child jumps right in. As the others rock out with their bearded teacher, one little guy needs time. By the end of this friendly, stylishly illustrated rhyme-fest, he's got the beat and hates to say goodbye. MAPLE & WILLOW APART Written and illustrated by Lori Nichols. 32 pp. Nancy Paulsen. $16.99. (Picture book; ages 2 to 6) It's a moment of hard truth every younger sibling faces: Maple is off to kindergarten, while Willow's routine stays the same. In the latest in this utterly charming series about two tree-loving sisters, Maple compounds the injury by coming home each day and gabbing endlessly about the exciting goings-on at school. Luckily, Willow finds a magical new friend, Pip, who sometimes seems like a plain old acorn. Nichols's touch is light and deft as ever as playing with Pip brings the girls together again. DAD'S FIRST DAY Written and illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka. 32 pp. Bloomsbury. $16.99. (Picture book; ages 4 to 6) Wohnoutka's back-to-school story mines the helicopter parenting phenomenon for big laughs, even for those who may cringe in recognition. After Oliver and his father spend a summer doing everything together, it's Dad who's reluctant to face the first day of school. "My tummy hurts," he says, then dawdles and hides as Oliver worries about being late. "You're probably going to really miss me when you're at school," Dad says in the car, to which the smiling child replies, deadpan, "Sure, Daddy." MONKEY: Not Ready for Kindergarten Written and illustrated by Marc Brown. 32 pp. Knopf. $12.99. (Picture book; ages 4 to 6) Poor Monkey is not convinced by all the enthusiasm for his first day of kindergarten. He has a list of what might go wrong, like "What if his teacher doesn't like him?" A play date with future classmates and an arranged secret goodbye handshake with his parents pay off as he enters the classroom smiling. Brown patiently covers the fear-of-school bases, and his soft, child-like art, which evokes an improbably skillful grade-schooler's crayon work, helps put us inside Monkey's point of view. IF YOU EVER WANT TO BRING AN ALLIGATOR TO SCHOOL, DON'T! Written and illustrated by Elise Parsley. 32 pp. Little, Brown. $17. (Picture book; ages 4 to 7) This debut introduces Magnolia, who has a choppy black haircut and a mouth often wide open in a yelp. She has some hard-won advice: Alligators are not advisable in school. Hers caused a heap of disaster, with enormous webs of chewing gum, origami everywhere and a mean-looking gray-haired teacher dispensing punishment. Some adults may find it too familiar, but children are likely to get a kick out of Magnolia's not-quite-contrite tone and the colorful chaos her giant pet creates. ONLINE An expanded visual presentation of this week's column at nytimes.com/books.
Copyright (c) The New York Times Company [August 23, 2015]
Review by Booklist Review
Wohnoutka, the illustrator of Moo! (2013), an ALA Notable Book, turns in another delightfully screwy performance here. First-day-of-school jitters is the subject, and role reversal is the comedy-filled antidote. Oliver and his dad have had a great summer together. Now it's time to get ready for school. Everything seems to be going swimmingly until the morning of, when his dad's tummy starts hurting. Dad doesn't want to go to school. He stalls; he hides. Oliver has to drag his dad to the car. Once at school, Dad is the one who clings. It's not until later, when Dad returns, peeks into the classroom, and sees all the fun Oliver is having playing, drawing, singing, and reading that Dad realizes they are both ready for school. Wohnoutka peps the story up by mixing cartoon panels with single- and double-page spreads, all in comforting earth tones. This clever reversal of confident child with nervous parent is reassuring and hilarious. Readers may want to check out Julie Danneberg's First Day Jitters (2000) and Jonathan London's Froggy Goes to School (1996).--Fletcher, Connie Copyright 2015 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
In a story of emotional transference, a boy named Oliver is completely ready for school to begin but his kind, nebbishy father-with whom Oliver spent the summer playing, reading, and singing-grows nervous when the big day arrives. Wohnoutka's gouache paintings poke gentle fun at Daddy, and they'll elicit giggles as Oliver's father hides from his son as they prepare to leave the house, drives "very slowly" to school, and throws a tantrum that requires the teacher to carry the man out of the building. It's a straightforward and familiar story (with a reassuring conclusion), and it should leave new students with an extra jolt of confidence. Ages 4-8. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review
PreS-Gr 1-Oliver and his dad had a fun summer-playing, singing, and reading together. When it comes time for school, Oliver is ready, but his dad grows nervous as the big day nears. As Oliver's dad complains his stomach hurts, hides from his son as they prepare to leave, and drives slowly to school, Oliver is the one reassuring his dad. This familiar story will hit home with kids and parents alike who have experienced first day of school jitters. As Oliver's dad proclaims, "I'm not ready for school!" The colorful gouache illustrations will elicit giggles from young readers as they imagine their parents behaving like Oliver's dad. VERDICT A charming addition to the popular first day of school section.-Sarah Polace, Cuyahoga Public Library System, OH © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review
Summer is over and it's time for Oliver to start school, but there's a problem: his dad isn't ready ("It's okay, Daddy, you're just a little nervous"). Happily, the book's wink to adult readers (yes, sometimes it's hard to let go) won't impede young readers' pleasure, derived largely from Wohnoutka's comical art, in which Daddy acts like a big baby. (c) Copyright 2016. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
With tongue firmly in cheek, Wohnoutka recognizes that kids going to school for the first time aren't the only ones who are nervous. Oliver and his dad have spent a wonderful summer bonding and doing all sorts of fabulous thingsreaders will get the distinct impression that this is a stay-at-home dad. But now it's time for school to start. Oliver's ready. His dad? Not so much. "Oliver's dad didn't feel so good." Oliver reassures him, "you're just a little nervous," and then tries to get him moving. But, like a toddler when his parent is late, there are just a few things Oliver's dad has to do before leaving, including putting a puzzle together and hiding in three different places. When Oliver finally gets his dad to school, the teacher has to pry him off Oliver. Wohnoutka's gouache illustrations, and the way they play up the deadpan text for humor, are the real stars here. "The teacher walked Oliver's dad outside," carrying him kicking and screaming, Oliver calmly saying goodbye, a smile on his face. After he disconsolately does some chores for a bit, a quick peek through the classroom window puts Oliver's dad at ease; he's finally ready for school. Though Oliver and his dad are both Caucasian, the teacher is brown-skinned, possibly Latina. By the end of the book, readers will be all set for school too: this is sure to provoke shared laughter that will calm the fears of even the most unready parents. (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.