Back to School: Ally-Saurus and the First Day of School by Richard Torrey
"WAKE UP, SLEEPHEAD!" SAID MOM.
"MY NAME IS NOT SLEEPYHEAD! IT'S ALLY-SAURUS!"
It's no secret what Ally's favorite subject is! She sleeps with a toy dinosaur, her pajamas have dino prints all over them, and with a ROAR! she jumps into her first-day outfit, sporting a dinosaur on her tee.
"YOUR PANTS ARE ON BACKWARD," SAID FATHER.
"THAT'S SO MY DINOSAUR TAIL CAN STICK OUT!" SHOUTED ALLY-SAURUS.
And the girl's got a point--a spiky pink, pointy Crayola-ed tail and crest are clearly visible on her person. She's a dino-devotee all the way.
"DO YOU THINK THERE WILL BE ANY DINOSAURS IN MY CLASS?" ALLY ASKED.
But it's not looking good for fellow dino fans at school. At snack time, Ally-Saurus shows the kids at her table how a dino chomps up her grapes with a ROAR. Her table mates seem to be all princesses, judging from their pink crayoned tiaras, the frou-frou on their dresses, and their tiny genteel bites.
Then it's time for alphabet practice, and Ally-Saurus roars out her contribution (D IS FOR DINOSAUR!) as the princess coterie looks on, a bit aghast. The teacher tries to smooth Ally's faux pas over.
"I THINK EVERYONE LIKES DINOSAURS," MRS. W. SAID.
"NOT AS MUCH AS PRINCESSES," VOLUNTEERS ONE OF THE TIARA TRIBE.
At free play, Ally-Saurus leaves the Cinderella set and joins the other oddballs, kids dressed as an astronaut, a lion, a pirate, and especially the dragon, who sports similar pink spikes and wings! Soon everyone is playing together, even the princesses, collaborating on a script for all their favorite characters.
Much is made of the cliques in upper elementary and middle school, but media-savvy preschoolers sometimes have their own favorite roles already sketched out, and Richard Torrey hints at that with his tongue-in-cheek crayon costumes that only kids can see in place, in Ally-saurus & the First Day of School (Sterling Books, 2015). Ally's enthusiasm is contagious among her varied classmates, as the kids feel free to be themselves and try out a few new personas as well on the first day of school.
Says Kirkus' starred review, "Torrey nicely tackles lots of first-day issues in this imaginative offering—making friends, getting along, keeping an open mind, the everyday routines of kindergarten—and he does so with aplomb. Ally is an empathetic guide for young children facing their own first days, no matter what or who they imagine themselves to be."