So BookBairn has started school! And she is really loving it - to be honest I knew she would once she got over separation anxiety and sett...

Starting School Books

Friday, August 21, 2020 BookBairn 1 Comments


So BookBairn has started school! And she is really loving it - to be honest I knew she would once she got over separation anxiety and settled in because she is so ready to learn. But we also did lots of reading of stories about starting school, and school based stories because I knew that given the situation with Covid-19 restrictions, the lack of transition visits might make it more difficult to settle. And the books certainly helped!

Below is a quick-flick through video of some of our favourites and you can find them all listed on my Amazon Shop page. And below are full reviews of the ones we read the most!

Going to School by Rose Blake

This is the best 'Going to School' book I've ever read. It goes through the main elements of the day as well as sharing lots of the fun and wonderful ways the children learn and the teachers teach. From a teacher's point of view, it shows the way we strive to make every element of learning fun and exciting and how we try to appeal to all the different interest and learning styles of the children whilst still applying all those elements within the wider curriculum. From a kid's point of view this book shows lots of the awesome things you can do at school as well as eases some of the anxiety they might have about all the new things they might encounter and it focuses on some of the transitions in school - drop off, pick up, lunch and break times as well as different spaces like the cloakroom, gym hall, computer room. I adore the illustrations by Rose Blake - they capture the life and soul of school life in a class of diverse students so that every child can see themselves in this book. There’s also clever little stories woven in the illustrations so on each read you can spot something different making it great fun to read over and over which is exactly what you will want to do to support new school starts. A very well thought out, fun and colourful book!

The Colour Monster Goes to School by Anna Llenas

If you haven’t seen the original Colour Monster book I can only implore you to read it by telling you it’s a fantastic feelings book full of colour, character and fun and if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on the pop-up edition (the one we have) then you’re in possession of one of the most incredible examples of picture book perfection!
But anyway...
Colour Monster is off to school and he’s not so sure, he’s a bundle of mixed feelings. But with a little persuasion he spends a yellow happy day with all his classmates and realised that school is a wonderful adventure to be shared with friends. Our favourite part is actually the endpapers where you see all the drawings that the children have created of Colour Monster and leaves a little space for you to add your own! Such a fun way to end the story!

Mouse's Big Day by Lydia Monks

It’s a big day for Mouse! Her first day of school. But she doesn’t want to go. Not one bit. Lucky for her, just like BookBairn, her class is full of friends. The teacher sets the children a challenge to find something special; Owl finds some feathers, Rabbit found a carrot, Frog found a tadpole (his brother or sister perhaps?) and Mole stumbles on gold. But what Mouse finds is even more special: friends. The characters from Twit Two School are enchanting and we look forward to following them on another adventure soon! And the book ends on BookBairn’s favourite part:
“[Mouse] found that she didn’t like school...
She LOVED it, and she couldn’t wait to find out what tomorrow would bring!”

First Day at Bug School by Sam Lloyd

“At the bottom of the garden, 

where no one really sees,

a secret school is hidden

amongst the grass and weeds…” 

This is a funny and reassuring book for little ones about to start school, featuring counting classes for ladybirds, hopping lessons for fleas and lots of fun for all the creatures at bug school. BookBairn loves looking at the illustrations in this one - enjoying noticing all the little details. And although this is a book about a bug school it does have all the key elements of school - from teachers, to friendships, to break time and lunch time, even the toilets, so it covers lots of things you want to chat about with your child before starting school. Written in rhyme it’s also a lot of fun to read aloud. 

When a Dragon Goes to School by Caryl Hart & Rosalind Beardshaw

How do dragons behave at school? Do they throw the crayons, refuse to share the toys and set fire to the building? Of course not! Dragons don’t do that!! But behaving at school isn’t always easy. A lovely way of taking to children about rules, routines and being a good friend and classmate. Written in rhyme with a lovely cast of characters and a little star in the dragon! I love that the teacher only appears as a pair of legs and feet and the whole day centres around the children. The way a school day should be!

Pirates Don't Go to School by Alan MacDonald & Magda Brol

Pirates don’t go to School, right? They sail the high seas, hunt for treasure swab the poop deck, evade sea monsters. Ao when Jake declares that he wants to go to school his family are horrified! They tell him school is full of rotten rules and monstrous teachers but nevertheless Jake is determined to go to school. But despite his fears, he has a brilliant day at school, especially with the highjinks of his stowaway parrot. In fact he finds out that he gets to do all his favourite things: singing, rope climbing, splashy mess-making! And he even manages to convince his family to re-think their attitude to school. A wonderfully fun story about finding your ‘sea legs’, this is a lovely story for any children who might be nervous about starting their own school adventure. Or for anyone who loves a pirate story! Or just for anyone who loves a picture book quite frankly!

King of the Classroom by Derrick Barnes & Vanessa Brantley-Newton

This is the story of a young boy on his first day of school and not only is her determined to have a good day, it’s going to rule! Starting from when the boy first gets up, through breakfast and on the school bus, this story is packed full of royal puns that will tickle grown ups as they read and will make it real for little ones the idea that he is a king! I love the little crown motif that is peppered through all the illustrations and BookBairn loves spotting them as we read. Into the classroom, meeting the teacher, and having so much fun, the little boy is also a fantastic role model for making new friends. And of course he’s excited to return to school the next day! Such a fun and clever book (worth noting this one has a lot of features from the US school system - no uniform, yellow buses, but there’s also a lot that is universal about a first school experience so it’s got plenty of appeal for UK readers too.)

I Have to Start at School Today by & Simon Philip Ged Adamson

The little girl in this story starts school today. Her parents tell her it will be fun but she starts to worry about a whole list of things that might go wrong (fuelled by her big brothers lies). From rhinos at the gate to bears who won’t share, she believes there are all sorts of things that could go wrong on the first day of school. But grandma sets things straight and helps her realise that maybe the rhino and the bear are there to help? That things might go all right! Written in rhyme and full of jokes and out of this world imaginings, this is a hilarious book to read aloud and a great way to get kids ready for school.

Kindergarten Countdown by Majorie Blain Parker & Sophie Burrows

Such a lovely book for counting down the sleeps until ‘kindergarten’ starts! Though the terminology ‘kindergarten isn’t really used here in the UK, we’ve still been enjoying this adorable book which helps children prepare for all the excitement of their first day of school. Counting down the number of sleeps and talking about ten exciting things about school from wearing new clothes to going to a bus and packing your own lunch (worth noting that one of these is pledging allegiance to the flag which makes this aimed at an American audience) until reaching zero sleeps because the big day is here!! And the most exciting thing of all? Making new friends! This book has gorgeous illustrations and is full of energy and excitement and will have kids looking forward to starting school.

I hope this helps if you're little one is starting school soon! If you are looking for more of our very favourite starting school books check out my Amazon shop and click on the section for Going to School Books.

Happy starting school!
Kim and the bairns x

Disclaimer: We were sent some of these books free for review purposes by the publishers. Words and opinions are my own. If you click on the title or image of the book you will be sent to using an affiliate link. This means that if you choose to purchase on, I will receive a small sum (around 20-70p per book) from amazon at no extra cost to you. I understand that you may not want to use an affiliate link, but if you like reading our blog please just think of it as a small tip for a tip-off to an awesome book. And know that your support means I can buy more books! For more information check out our 'For Our Readers' section.

1 comment:

  1. So BookBairn has started school. Wow! She will love it. What a great selection of books about it and all different. Must’ve been good fun reading these with her in the build up. Wishing BookBairn all the very best for her school years. Love her to bits. xxx