Review by George Aranda
by Sue Ganz-Schmitt and illustrated by Shane Prigmore
When I started this blog a couple of years ago with the aim of featuring science books, I never thought that I would be reviewing one written for introducing children to kindergarten. But here I am, happily.
Planet Kindergarten written by Sue Ganz-Schmitt and illustrated by Shane Prigmore is a book that takes the spirit of adventure that is so much a part of space exploration and turns it into an wonderful metaphor for exploring the unknown world of the kindergarten.
Our young hero starts the book training for his new mission and counting down the days to liftoff, going on to meet his new ‘alien’ classmates and even experiencing doubt as to whether he can complete his mission.
Ganz-Schmitt’s text moves the story along at a nice pace and both adult and child can have a bit of a chuckle at how nicely the terms of a space mission fit so well with the imminent mission of a kindergarten and the various modules one must explore.
Prigmore’s illustrations are bold and brashy, reminding me of the ‘kapow’ and ‘blam’ illustrations that you saw when you watched Batman back in the days when he danced and was played by Adam West. The illustrations have clever jokes that adults will get with the young ‘aliens’ being reminiscent of our favourite sci-fi movie aliens and jokes you can point out to the little person in your life. You might know Prigmore’s work from movie projects such as Coraline, How to Train Your Dragon and others.
This is a great book to introduce kids to the unknown complexities of kindergarten life, where mum and dad wont be around, and that things will seem scary at first, but they can rest assured that at the end of the day a safe splashdown at home is what they can expect.
Dr George Aranda is a former cognitive neuroscience researcher who has moved to the world of science education and science communication research. He runs the Big Ideas science book club in Melbourne and is the curator of Science Book a Day.