cover image Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten

Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten

Joseph Slate. Dutton Books, $16.99 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-525-45446-5

Any child made anxious by the first day of kindergarten should find great comfort in this book's two parallel stories: 26 young animals--from an alligator named Adam to a zebra named Zach--get ready for their first day of school, while a teacher named Miss Bindergarten is hard at work preparing herself and her classroom for their arrival. Wolff and Slate (previously teamed in Who Is Coming to Our House?) boost the confidence of their audience by showing that Miss Bindergarten, a gentle-looking black-and-white dog in a green dress, is slightly more harried in her preparations than her students. Except for a genuinely reluctant iguana named Ian, who is dragged crying from the door of his house by his mother, the kindergarteners appear not only self-reliant but eager. Slate's text has a comforting, familiar rhythm (""Brenda Heath brushes her teeth/ Christopher Beaker finds his sneaker""), while Wolff's richly colored, busy illustrations display a keen and sympathetic eye for children's dress and behavior. The book concludes with a winning set of class portraits, each of Miss Bindergarten's pupils (except poor Ian) grinning into the ""camera,"" the picture of self-assurance. Ages 3-6. (Sept.)