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Back to school with books

September 1, 2016
Amy Phelps , MOV Parent

By now you're settling into your routine, but it's always fun for young readers to read about what they are experiencing.

In "Pete the Cat's Got Class" by James Dean (Harper, $9.99, ages 4-8,) the funky cat wants to help a friend. Pete loves math but that's not the case with his friend Tom. Tom has trouble adding and subtracting, and Pete wants to help. He thinks by making math fun, Tom will understand it better, like using race cars as an example. What will the teacher think? The book illustrates ways math occurs in the real world (for young kids) and also includes flash cards, a fold-out poster and stickers with the favorite cat!

What happens when a young ballerina wants to dance at school? "Ruby Rose Off to School?She Goes" by Rob Sanders with illustrations by Debbie Ridpath Ohi (HarperCollins, $15.99, ages 4-8) follows the dancer as she eats breakfast, brushes her teeth and jumps off the bus, all while dancing.

But soon she finds she has to sit quietly and listen in class, and there is no dancing during art class. She finds she cannot dance in library, or in the lunch line or basically anywhere. And then an accident happens - and there is a lot of dancing. A cute story with a funny twist, this is a good story for kids who may have a problem sitting still.

Siblings go off to school together in "My Little Sister and Me" by Maple Lam (HarperCollins, $17.99, ages 4-8.) A little boy is excited because he is to take his little sister home from the bus stop all by himself. But he quickly finds out his little sister is going to make the journey interesting. Whether she's singing, picking up random trash or chasing a dog, the road home is paved with funny stories and a very sweet look at sibling relationships.

The very funny Otter shows up with his own version of school in "Otter Goes to School" by Sam Garton (HarperCollins, $17.99, ages 4-8.) Otter wants to know how Otter Keeper got so smart. It turns out it was school. So he wants to be clever too and starts his own school with his stuffed animal friends. He brushes their teeth, packs them a lunch, drives off in a (toy) car and settles everyone in to meet the teacher (Otter in a costume.) There's math, music, storytime and plenty of gold stars. But what will he do when Teddy says he's not a good student? Is he a good teacher? This is a cute story that is very reminiscent of kids playing school and will bring many giggles.

Kindergartners will enjoy a look at several days of school in "On the First Day of Kindergarten" by Tish Rabe with illustrations by Laura Hughes (HarperCollins, $9.99, ages 4-8.) Told in the same manner as the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" kids can read about the things you do in the twelve days of kindergarten, like riding the bus, making friends, counting up to ten, running in a race, singing a song, sliding down the slide, sorting by shapes, sharing a story, painting a picture, laughing at lunch, jumping rope in gym and going on a field trip. With adorable illustrations, this will get young students excited about things they do at school.

A dinosaur confronts bullying in "Rappy Goes to School" by Dan Gutman with illustrations by Tim Bowers (HarperCollins, $17.99, ages 4-8.) It is Rappy the Raptor's first day of school and he is ready to rhyme (like most days.) But he promises to be quiet when he is supposed to be and looks forward to making new friends. But one of the bigger kids is mean to a more timid kid. Will Rappy step in? A musical story about being friendly and bullying, it also keys into kids' love of dinosaurs.

A boy and his dog have a lot to learn in the world in "Frank and Lucky Get Schooled" by Lynne Rae Perkins (HarperCollins, $17.99, ages 4-8. One day when Frank is having a really bad day, he and his family adopt Lucky. (Lucky was having a really bad day too before he got Frank.) And the two are soon fast friends and discovering real world learning and adventures. There's science to study, like learning about wildlife and plants and bugs. There's chemistry to learn, like what happens when a dog gets sprayed by a skunk. There's astronomy to study, like learning the constellations. Frank can practice reading aloud to Lucky, who can practice listening. They can learn math skills, like how many dog biscuits should he get? They can learn history, like how long dogs have been humans' pets? There is a whole world to explore and a boy and his dog are determined to do so! This is a lovely illustrated story about lifelong learning and that things aren't always just taught in school and books, but have real-world applications too.

A little girl decides to teach her dog in "Winnie and Waldorf Disobedience School" by Kati Hites (HarperCollins, $17.99, ages 4-8.) Waldorf has been disobeying at home, so Winnie decides its time for him to learn some lessons. And when she gives him a cubby and tells him to get started, she tries to teach him the ABCs, reading and music, but he seems to excel at nap time. But during gym class, they witness a would-be accident. Will Waldorf help save the day? A funny story of a little girl "teaching" school, this will give young readers the giggles.



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