Janet A. Holmes
Little Hare 2013
hbk., 32pp., RRP $A24.95
It is the first day of school and such days can seem so scary that you just want to hide under your bed. But sometimes you don’t have a choice and you have to face the monsters, so another strategy is needed. So put on your crocodile mask and snap and snarl and scare them away. It will work for a while but it can leave you feeling very lonely. That is unless you meet a little girl with a wise owl mask who ignores your unfriendliness and makes you something that works better.
In the next couple of weeks, thousands of little people will be facing the unknown and starting pre-school or big school, and this is a lovely title which sensitively explores how such fears can be faced. Because it is written in the first person it gives a voice to what a lot of our newest students are thinking and they will be able to empathise with the little boy. But as well as showing that they are not alone in their fears, it is also a vehicle for exploring how they can deal with them. There is great scope for talking about the best strategies to use for making friends, particularly as not making friends is one of the greatest causes of anxiety of school-starters.
As a read-aloud it offers lots of scope for the children to join in enthusiastically and the paper collage illustrations also offer several talking points, both features which will help the children on their literacy journey. Offer it to your kindergarten teachers to share on that first day – it is one that should be in the their school bag so they too can turn the crocodiles back into the gentle child behind the mark.