Back to School: You Are My Wonders by Maryann Love
I AM YOUR TEACHER.
YOU ARE MY SCHOOL.
I AM YOUR BLANK PAPER.
YOU ARE MY WORK OF ART.
A teacher greets her class on the first day of school, the year ahead a blank canvas on which everything is yet to be drawn. The new students sit in a story circle, for the moment a circle of quiet, waiting to see what their teacher is like, what their school year is going to be. It's quite a moment--that one just before the new teacher begins to speak and the school year begins.
Maryann Cusimano Love's teacher pilots a reassuring take-off as her new little class gets off the ground. Her latest early childhood book, You Are My Wonders (Philomel, 2012), soft pedals the first day of preschool/Kindergarten, with a series of metaphors which might mystify a real group of kids, but in its easy couplet cadence is gently reassuring to school newbies. Her teacher is a comfortably rounded elephant, and her students are shown as plush animal personalities in a series of cozy, pastel illustrations in the well-known style of Satori Ichikawa, made famous in their best-seller, You Are My I Love You.
I AM YOUR STORY.
YOU ARE MY WIDE EYES.
Ms. Elephant seems to relish the good moments, but she has obviously been around this particular block a few times and knows that there will be some chaos ahead.
I AM YOUR CALM.
YOU ARE MY THUNDER.
Still, it's a soft sell, as Love and Itchikawa offer a spoonful-of-sugar approach to first day fears in this super-sweet look at the activities--crafts, storytime, recess, plant and hamster time--that make up the early childhood day, made easy by a teacher who obviously believes in her students.
For a more intense, more realistic look at the whole first-day thing, try Joseph Slate's classic, Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten (Miss Bindergarten Books).