Shine-A-Light: Starting School

Kane Miller. Mar. 2022. 36p. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9781684642830.
PreS-Gr 1–The major moments and routines of the first day of school are introduced in this soothing picture book. Five children are featured as they move through their first day of school, and each captured moment ends with a question. For the first lesson of the day: “What are the children learning?” The answer is revealed on the opposite page that first appears dark. However, when readers shine a flashlight through the page, an image and text appear. The answer is math, “learning about numbers and adding them together,” illustrated with a basic sum on a whiteboard. The text is simple and accessible, the illustrations warm and friendly. The overall tone is gentle and inviting. The book assumes complete unfamiliarity with school, offering tidbits like, “cubbies help to keep the classroom tidy,” so children can make sense of a new environment. Students with some school experience can gain a confidence boost at being in the know. The flashlight feature adds a pop of excitement, like a lift-the-flap but without the inevitable ripping and bending of the page. The children and adults featured are diverse, with a range of skin colors, names suggesting varying ethnicities, and one girl wearing hearing devices. The end pages list some of the important people and places in a typical school, with a thoughtful description of each.
VERDICT An amiable introduction to school, elevated by a flashlight reveal feature, that would enhance any school readiness collection.

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