The King of Kindergarten
by Derrick Barnes ill by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
For you are the King of Kindergarten
Leaving the security of home and family to attend school can be a daunting event in the life of a five-year-old. That's not the case for this kid.
The King of Kindergarten features a youngster who is capable and confident. He awakes early for his first day of school, washing up and dressing himself. Well, almost. Shirt, overalls, socks. No problem. However tying shoelaces has yet to be mastered. Anyone who has worked with five-somethings will appreciate this visual detail.
With preparation and encouragement from his parents, this guy is ready for the day's challenge! He's got a bright smile, has practiced saying his name, is ready to give a friendly wave, and even brought a chocolate pudding cup to share.
Barnes gives immediacy to the narrative, writing in second person future tense. Parents describe to their son not only what will happen when he goes to school, but offer suggestions on how he can respond in each new situation.
Brantley-Newton's illustrations are bursting with exuberance. Each page is a joyous celebration of color. Sunshine motifs sparkle across the pages. The morning rays are trumpets, heralding the beginning of a new adventure.