Kindergarten Diary by Antoinette Portis

It’s normal for anyone to have first-day jitters, much less kindergarteners who are unsure of what to expect from their new teacher(s), new classmates or perhaps even new school. Thus, reading books that help to give them a glimpse of what kindergarten life could be like, or reassure them that things will be fine, can help to allay their fears.

Written using a first-person narrative, in the voice of kindergarten newbie Annalina, Kindergarten Diary is purportedly a record of her adventures in kindergarten over the course of a month, beginning from that all-important day-before-first day of school.

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Despite expressing some misgivings about kindergarten, however, Annalina soon settles into her class rather quickly, especially when she realises that her fears (e.g. a mean teacher) are unfounded, and she makes a couple of good friends.

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I especially liked the simple, direct language used (apt since it is supposed to be in the voice of a kindergartener) and how the concise chronological diary entries show the developmental arc of Annalina’s growing confidence in class, as well as her solidifying friendships; it’s also fun to read about the different activities in class and the simple joys that constitute the highlights of her (and most kindergarteners’) day, such as playing on the monkey bars or eating cake at a birthday celebration. The diary entries are also enlivened by the mixed-media illustrations, which have a cute scrapbook feel and complement the text very well.

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