Ready and Waiting for You

illus. by Catherine Stock. 32p. Eerdmans. 2013. RTE $17. ISBN 978-0-8028-5355-4. LC 2012049250.
K-Gr 1—In this picture book about starting a new school, all the other children and staff are welcoming, from cafeteria workers to the librarian, teacher, and attendance clerk. "Come in. Come in…./Are you new?/We're ready and waiting for you." Foldouts extend the colorful, torn-paper illustrations, and the author's "open door" design concept gives readers the feeling that they are entering the various scenes. With its generous spirit-"come in through this door…/We won't be a whole school till you do"-this story is likely to help anxious youngsters feel special and promote the excitement that soon overcomes first-day fears. It is also a reminder to returning students about what it takes to make things work well at school. A first purchase.—Janene Corbin, Rosebank Elementary School, Nashville, TN
Readers are welcomed to their first day of school by a host of people eager to show them around. "Come in. Come in. / Come in through this door. / Are you new?" asks a little girl on the sidewalk, gesturing toward a school bus. The page folds out to show an open bus door and waving bus driver, the first of many friendly adults: "We're ready and waiting for you." The refrain repeats as Moreillon and Stock cheerfully work through a roster of trustworthy adult mentors who will guide newcomers, from crossing guards to the school secretary and principal, cafeteria workers, librarians, and teachers, all introducing the various activities kindergarteners can expect. The children in the book are equally welcoming, depicted with a casual multiculturalism that deepens the message of welcome-to-all. Bright, bold torn-paper illustrations capture the high energy and sensory stimulations of a kindergarten classroom (including musical notes, blocks, toys, wall decorations, and the colorfully clad children themselves) with simple, expressive lines and shapes that could easily translate into related craft projects. The concluding sense of belonging provides a cozy summary and will resonate with anxious ers: "Come in through this door... / We won't be a whole school till you do." claire e. gross

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