cover image Beginning School

Beginning School

Irene Smalls-Hector. Silver Burdett Press, $11.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-382-39330-3

Setting out to reassure apprehensive kindergarteners-to-be, Smalls's wordy read-aloud offers a rather prosaic account of a class's activities during the first days and months at school. The spotlight here is on Alicia, a good-natured African American child. In a typically flat passage, readers learn that ""Alicia wasn't so sure she would have any fun in school. But her mother had told her she was a big girl now. Alicia knew that being big meant going to school."" Alicia does just fine, easily making friends and kindly reaching out to a forlorn classmate who is having difficulty adjusting. After closely following the class's schedule for the initial days, Smalls (who has the teacher read the kids one of her previous books, Jonathan and His Mommy) recaps some highlights of the fall, among them a visit to a museum, class pictures and a Halloween party. On the closing spread, Smalls covers all multicultural bases with a cursory rundown of the holidays celebrated in class: Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, the Puerto Rican Festival of the Three Kings and Chinese New Year. The busy, consistently smiling youngsters in Goffe's cartoon art have more personality, and they convincingly pass along the message that school is definitely okay. Ages 4-7. (June)