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MY KINDERGARTEN (Booklist Editor's Choice. Books for Youth (Awards)) Hardcover – July 2, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 1–Emily and her classmates are back, and children follow them throughout their kindergarten year through charming vignettes and enchanting illustrations. Each oversized spread offers a learning experience, whether readers are singing number songs with Emily and Diane Duck, making Valentine cakes with Emily and her mother, or hearing about the voting process. " 'We vote,' says Grandpa, 'in order to try and make more good things than bad things happen in our world.'" Miss Cribbage inspires her students to learn about the world around them in innovative ways. For example, the class creates a "Museum of Things" where they put tiny treasures or waylaid pieces into boxes that they label as animal, vegetable, or mineral. The corresponding photographs of the items against a stark white background face humorous pictures of students dressed as an animal, mineral, or vegetable. The book is lighthearted and full of caring detail, warm expressions, and explosions of color. In addition to being about that wonderful first year of school, Kindergarten serves as a celebration of family and community, reminding readers that the school day extends far beyond the borders of the classroom walls. This is Wells at her best.–Lisa Gangemi Kropp, Middle Country Public Library, Centereach, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* PreS-K. With Wells' signature blend of tenderness, realism, and fun, this large picture book packs in a wealth of information, story, and playful rhyme about the first year of school. Much more than the usual short, welcoming introduction to the classroom, this is a detailed overview of things to learn and exciting goings-on, both at school and at home. Emily, the small rabbit from the counting book Emily's First 100 Days of School (2000), describes how she and her animal classmates learn from their kind teacher. Each double-page spread introduces one subject--from time and measurement to words, music, patterns, and fascinating stuff about science, geography, and community. The class celebrates Columbus Day, Thanksgiving (everyone gives thanks for something), Christmas, and Kwanzaa (no Ramadan, though), and through the seasons the children reach out from their school on Cranberry Island, Maine, to places across the world. The pupils are reminiscent of Wells' beloved picture-book characters in their expressions and fusion of animal and human body language, and Wells has made room for individual differences (Roger the puppy doesn't want to widen his horizons) and for failure (Emily messes up in math, but she's thrilled when she overcomes her fear and recites a simple poem). So many uses for teachers; fun for children; and great for parent-child sharing. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 6 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 1
  • Series: Booklist Editor's Choice. Books for Youth (Awards)
  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion; English Language edition (July 2, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786808330
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786808335
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #493,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in New York City, Rosemary Wells grew up in a house "filled with books, dogs, and nineteenth-century music." Her childhood years were spent between her parents' home near Red Bank, New Jersey, and her grandmother's rambling stucco house on the Jersey Shore. Most of her sentimental memories, both good and bad, stem from that place and time. Her mother was a dancer in the Russian Ballet, and her father a playwright and actor. Mrs. Wells says, "Both my parents flooded me with books and stories. My grandmother took me on special trips to the theater and museums in New York. "Rosemary Wells's career as an author and illustrator spans more than 30 years and 60 books. She has won numerous awards, and has given readers such unforgettable characters as Max and Ruby, Noisy Nora, and Yoko. She has also given Mother Goose new life in two enormous, definitive editions, published by Candlewick. Wells wrote and illustrated Unfortunately Harriet, her first book with Dial, in 1972. One year later she wrote the popular Noisy Nora. "The children and our home life have inspired, in part, many of my books. Our West Highland white terrier, Angus, had the shape and expressions to become Benjamin and Tulip, Timothy, and all the other animals I have made up for my stories." Her daughters Victoria and Beezoo were constant inspirations, especially for the now famous "Max" board book series. "Simple incidents from childhood are universal," Wells says. "The dynamics between older and younger siblings are common to all families."But not all of Wells' ideas come from within the family circle. Many times when speaking, Mrs. Wells is asked where her ideas come from. She usually answers, "It's a writer's job to have ideas." Sometimes an idea comes from something she reads or hears about, as in the case of her recent book, Mary on Horseback, a story based on the life of Mary Breckenridge, who founded the Frontier Nursing Service. Timothy Goes to School was based on an incident in which her daughter was teased for wearing the wrong clothes to a Christmas concert. Her dogs, west highland terriers, Lucy and Snowy, work their way into her drawings in expression and body position. She admits, "I put into my books all of the things I remember. I am an accomplished eavesdropper in restaurants, trains, and gatherings of any kind. These remembrances are jumbled up and changed because fiction is always more palatable than truth. Memories become more true as they are honed and whittled into characters and stories."

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Erika Sorocco on July 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover
MY KINDERGARTEN takes readers on a learning adventure from September through June, following eight kindergarten students (Odysseus, Terrance, Diane, Emily, Martha, Otto, Louise, and Roger), as they begin their first year of school, and their first year of learning in Miss Cribbage's kindergarten class.

MY KINDERGARTEN is filled with fun activities for readers to participate in, that will make them feel as if they are a part of the story, right there beside the children of Miss Cribbage's class. Young readers will adore the illustrations, and stories by Rosemary Wells, and parents will love the fact that their little ones are learning the alphabet, singing songs, reciting poems, counting to 10, reading stories, and more. Kindergarten teachers, and homeschooling parents will also enjoy this book, as it provides an innovative new teaching method that will boost childrens eagerness to learn, while having fun.

Erika Sorocco

Book Review Columnist for The Community Bugle Newspaper
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Paula Derubeis on April 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been a kindergarten teacher for 21 years, and I only wish I had been able to use this book from the beginning of my teaching career. I am reading it to my class right now, and we are playing "catch up" since our school library just obtained a copy recently. It has been like a walk down memory lane as we have remembered many of the fun things we have done this year. It has also given me some wonderful new ideas!! I highly recommend this book for kindergarten students and teachers. What a perfect gift for a brand new kindergarten teacher. It complements "Emily's First 100 Days of School", which my class hated to see end. Rosemary Wells is a gem!! Be sure to read all the Max and Ruby books, too.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne Amara TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love almost everything Rosemary Wells has ever written, and this book is no exception! It follows Emily (a bunny) and her classmates through kindergarten, both in school and outside. While they learn, your child can learn, but not in a forced, worksheet type way---rather, just by observing what the talented Ms. Cribbage teaches her students. I love it that the kids are not all eager learners, and in fact one boy mainly likes cars and little else---that's reality! The page with the food ABCs alone is both the price of admission!

If your child have enjoyed Emily's First 100 Days of School, they will be happy to find the same characters here, but might be a bit confused, as I was, that although both books seem to cover a kindergarten year in the same bunny's life, they are not really the same story----in The First 100 Days, Diane Duck moves mid-year, and here she doesn't. This one is set on an island in Maine, which delighted me, as the map shows it to be just off the peninsula I grew up on! However, First 100 is set a totally different place, someplace that seemed to me on reading it like an affluent suburb near a city. Other subtle difference occur, but I can't say this really took away from my enjoyment of the book at all---it was just a curiousity, someone for the adults reading both to think about! An island in Maine really makes more sense, as it explains the extra small class size---that is just all the kids that age the island has to offer.

All in all, a WONDERFUL book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. Sims on November 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book that takes a charming cast of characters and their creative, enthusiastic teacher through their first school year. Along the way they engage in a wide variety of stimulating activities, experience the change of seasons, and learn more about their local community--in this case, Cranberry Island, Maine. (Which does exist--we looked it up online.)

The students learn about some basic ideas like numbers and letters. But they also apply geography to mapping their school and neighborhood, study their environment by collecting seeds and dividing items into animal, vegetable or mineral categories. They even learn about civics by observing a local referendum on whether a chain restaurant should open on the island. As mentioned, they also take an active role in their community through volunteer work and projects.

The overriding message is that the potential for learning and teaching young children is present in many different circumstances given their innate curiosity. It is also pointed out in several situations that not all children will enjoy or master every activity, and in each case this challenge is accomodated with kindness.

The writing style is lovely, full of good cheer and wry observations about different personalities and people. The pictures are charming. My daughter enjoyed this book at six and my son loves it just as much at four. For me it is a reminder of how amazing the world can be through the eyes of a child absorbing and experiencing it for the first time. It also encourages parents to be patient with their children through the examples it portrays.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Eileen Kennedy-Moore on March 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is a long book, to be enjoyed over serval days. It captures the exuberance, curiosity, and sensitive feelings of young children. This delightful book follows a kindergarten class of animals from the first day of school to the end of the year, as they collect weeds and seeds, play instruments, learn about maps, and do lots of other fun activities. It compassionately conveys the feelings of a little bunny who temporarily becomes overwhelmed and forgets every single number because there are too many, and another who would rather draw a picture of "blue greass" than dance to it. I adore the teacher, Miss Cribbage, a fluffy guinea pig, who tells her students, "If anybody's feet are wet, or they didn't sleep well, or they are in a bad mood, music will make it all better." These are words to live by!

Eileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD

author of 'What About Me? Twelve Ways to Get Your Parents' Attention Without Hitting Your Sister'
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