Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Kindergarten Diary

Portis, Antoinette. 2010. KINDERGARTEN DIARY. New York. HarperCollins. ISBN 9780061456916 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK-K]

Annalina is the hero of this spot-on diary of the first month of school. Although afraid to begin Kindergarten, Annalina (quickly shortened to Anna because of the length of her name) before long reassures readers that “We are fine.” She makes friends, learns to share, and playfully uses her imagination. She faces her fears of big boys and an unknown teacher and confidently carries on. Her voice rings true with short sentences and short diary entries. This is the perfect story for anxious youngsters.

The genius, as with all of Portis’ books, is her art. Using mixed media on top of lined writing paper, she succinctly conveys the meaning of the story Her cartoon characters clearly express their emotions and actions. Mid-month, Anna reports that David M. says he’s “the best big-red-ball hitter in the whole world. We played at recess. / I beat him three times in a row. / David M. won’t play big-red ball with me anymore.” The illustration shows David M’s dismay and Anna’s determined fist hitting the ball. Children will understand the underlying meaning without much difficulty. By the end of the book, Anna is “too busy to write any more.” But we wish she would.

Encourage children to keep a diary of a particular month in the school year. The entries can be about anything they want to write about. Provide textured papers and crayons to create the illustrations.

Other books by the same author:
NOT A BOX. ISBN 9780061123221
A PENGUIN STORY. ISBN 9780061456886

By Cay Geisler

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