Attending school for the very first time can be exciting, but it can be scary, too. There’s that big, yellow bus, the bus driver and his quirky ways, and the anticipation of just what a child should expect once he or she walks through the doors. Thankfully, Kindergarrrten Bus, by Mike Ornstein, tackles all of these issues and more–and leaves young children in happy stitches in the process.
The book opens to the first day of kindergarten and tight little clump of kindergarten riders looking sad, dejected…and scared! They miss their mommies, their puppy dogs, and their blankies–and they’re also not so happy about the pirate bus driver with the blue parrot on his shoulder who calls himself “The Captain.”
The Captain is gruff and matter-of-fact and schools the children about blubbering on the bus. He tells them that pirates are rough and tough and don’t miss anybody, but when his Polly flies out of the window, it’s a different story. Suddenly the children have to help him get through his own scary moment.
This is just an adorable book about leaving mommy, daddy and favorite blankie behind as young children venture off to the world of classrooms and school books. The prose is peppered with pirate sounds, bird squawks, and land-lubber blubbering, yet it’s still guaranteed to bring a smile to the reader’s lips.
Artist Kevin M. Barry’s illustrations capture the innocence and uncertainty of young children, the bird-brain antics of Polly the blue parrot, and the lovably gruff personality of the pirate school bus driver who is nowhere near as brave as he claims to be. All the illustrations pop with color and detail, but perhaps the most unforgettable is the opening illustration of the little wooden kindergarten bus with port-holes for windows and “The Captain’s” hooked hand hanging casually out the driver’s window.
Use this book BEFORE the first day of school to help quell any fears your child may have. It can also work well in the classroom to open discussions about the fear and uncertainty that comes with new places and new faces.