Saturday, November 09, 2013

Off to School: A Day At School by Severine Cordier


Summer is spent, and sand pails, swimsuits, and shell collections are packed away.  It is almost school time, and attention turns to all the pre-school preparations that a family must make.

There are supplies to be bought, school clothes to try on, and haircuts to make all thee kids look spiffy for their classmates.

Everyone in the family have things to do on the first morning: as coffee brews and bread toasts, Mom makes fresh orange juice for breakfast, Dad shaves, the big kids brush teeth and tie shoes, the rising Kindergartner showers and shampoos his curly hair, and Mom puts on her makeup and heels for work.

Then everyone is ready for their day.  Dad with his briefcase and the older kids with their backpacks and Mom with the preschooler in her stroller wave goodbye as they head off to their daytime jobs--workplaces, first grade and Kindergarten, and day care for the toddler.  Saying goodbye calls for a few sad moments and even a tear or two, but the big kids are soon absorbed in making new friends, and the youngest is intrigued with an array of different toys in her classroom. Lessons are learned, lunches are shared, playdates planned, and before they know it, the first day of school is done.



Severine Cordier's latest, A Day at School (OwlKids Press, 2013), is an easy-reading picture diary of a family going through the first day of school.  Along with the family of five, illustrator Cynthia LaCroix charmingly pictures the objects and people encountered during that all-important day, ending comfortingly with the reunion and return to home for the soothing rituals of questions about school, dinner, homework, and bedtime. It's a celebration of the ordinary but wonderful stuff of daily life, one which provides a gentle, stress-reducing vicarious experience with the sometimes unsettling first day of school.

Companion books to A Day at School are Cordier and LaCroix's earlier Picture My Day, Picture My World, and A Day at the Farm. (see reviews here) which follow a growing family through their early years.  While not prepossessing in their style and format, these sturdy and simple books are great handbooks for parents and teachers to prepare youngsters for coming experiences.

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