Planet Kindergarten by Sue Ganz-Schmitt, illustrated by Shane Prigmore
Told in the first person by a little boy, this picture book mixes science fiction, space exploration and Kindergarten into one awesome picture book. The boy has been training for this day for some time. He has gotten supplies, been checked by a doctor, and the countdown to lift off has begun. He arrives at the Kindergarten door and his parents leave, returning to their own planet. He joins a classroom filled with aliens from across the galaxies. The commander gives them the day’s flight plan and then they start activities in the capsule, get to explore the planet’s surface for a bit, and even eat space food. By the end of the day, it is Mission Accomplished! And then time to get ready to do it all again.
Ganz-Schmitt nicely ties in science fiction touches throughout the book. The boy’s parents say goodbye with a Vulcan salute! She also focuses on NASA and space flight, pulling these two related but distinct subjects together seamlessly. Children who are fans of either will be right at home here, giggling along with the puns and the idea of school being a space capsule. Her humor is right on, offering just enough to be funny but not too much to lose the concept of it being a Kindergarten book.
Prigmore’s illustrations have a great zany quality that suits the subject matter. I love the other little boy with the hood so that you only see his nose and mouth as well as the other children who look like aliens but you can also see the person in there too. He plays along the line of making it about space but also allowing readers to see the human school underneath too.
Funny and filled with action and adventure, this book will get even the most nervous Kindergarten astronaut giggling about their new mission. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from copy received from Chronicle Books.