cover image The King of Kindergarten

The King of Kindergarten

Derrick Barnes, illus. by Vanessa Brantley-Newton. Penguin/Paulsen, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5247-4074-0

When a mother gives her son the titular nickname, it inspires him throughout his first day of school—the child imagines that a chalk-drawn crown is sitting on his head as he walks through the “towering doors” of the “grand fortress” and into his “Kindergarten Kingdom.” It’s a day filled with new friends, “a royal rest” (nap time), and acts of noblesse oblige (the boy shares an extra pudding cup with a dessert-less classmate). And when the teacher goes through all the classroom rules and the work ahead, Barnes (Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut) writes, “It sounds like a lot, but you’re the King of Kindergarten. Piece. Of. Cake.” Affirming text and energizing drawings by Brantley-Newton (Grandma’s Purse), which skillfully balance bright colors, patterns, and textures, should put a spring in the step of any reluctant kindergartner: who wouldn’t want to be thought of as “the charming, the wonderful and the kind” class sovereign? Ages 3–6. [em](July) [/em]