Stephanie Blake, translated from the French by Linda Burgess, I Don’t Want to go to School, Gecko Press, September 2014, 28pp, NZ@14.99 pbk, ISBN: 9781877579080
Those who enjoyed the best-selling Poo Bum will recall the egotistic young rabbit who likes to assert his own agency through using naughty words. Parents of many pre-schoolers will relate to this dilemma. What is the right thing to do? The double page endpapers will certainly set this scene where many images of our naughty rabbit will amuse the intended child audience and give permission for parents to vent angst through laughter. The background colour of red certainly evokes passion.
When his parents announce that the next day will be his first day at school, the “cheeky little rabbit” asserts the negative, no way! Despite the entreaties of his father “you will learn the alphabet” his position is re-asserted. That night his brain is hyper-active as fear engulfs him. He screams and mother comes to his rescue. Inch-by-inch time goes forward and he arrives at school, still full of angst. What happens next? Is he finally persuaded that school is a wonderful place?
Transitions are a big issue for children (and indeed adults) as the new can be very frightening. This delightful picture book will resonate with all children about the need to face change when the familiar is to be replaced by the unfamiliar. What are some good transitioning strategies is a good issue that could be the basis for older children recalling their past experiences. Teacher notes can be found on the Random House NZ website. Recommended.
reviewed by John McKenzie