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Ready, Set, Big School

A Play School Mindfully Me book about starting school

by Play School, Jan Stradling, illustrated by Jedda Robaard

Reviewed by Mia Macrossan

This is another title in the excellent Mindfully Me series produced by Play School. Previous titles include Beginnings and Endings, reviewed for StoryLinks by Helen Gearing, and Breathe In and Out, both produced by the same creative team.
Starting school can be an anxious time for children and here is a book that does wonders in preparing them for the big day,  helping allay any fears, dispelling collywobbles, and answering any questions they may have.
Maurice and his friends all have different questions for Mr Bao when he visits to talk about what to expect from big school. They talk about making new friends, what they will do ( painting, learning letters and numbers), and whether or not there is a sandpit.
At home they practise getting ready: trying on new shoes, putting on the uniform, packing the lunchbox and even making a checklist of things to get ready for the big day. An important thing Maurice and Big Ted practise is how to introduce yourself to someone you are meeting for the first time.
The first day is exciting and goes by very quickly. There is Big Ted waiting for Maurice as he waves goodbye to his new friend Jemima. ‘See you tomorrow!’
The book ends with a list of thing to do when you are starting Big School.
The illustrations show all our favourite characters joining in, getting ready and enjoying their first day. The style is gentle, detailed, and expressive. The faces and body language cleverly shows all their different emotions during the day. The simple text highlights certain words in larger coloured font which helps to emphasise the important concepts. This book effectively covers a lot of territory within the picture book format.
I highly recommend sharing this book as an excellent way to prepare your child for Big School.
Watch the Play School episode: Play School: Ready, Set, Big School
ABC Books AU 2023
1942 Amsterdam Ave NY (212) 862-3680

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