Alastair McAllister Goes to School

Children - Picture Book
31 Pages
Reviewed on 08/11/2022
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Valerie Ramer – Author
Alastair McAllister Goes to School
Valerie Ramer has a degree in theater and has worked as an actress, talent agent and acting coach. She has written and directed many plays for children around the Seattle area. Her writing uses teachable moments, told with humor, to shed light on issues children face. She has also worked as a ghost writer for TV and film scripts.

She has raised two amazing humans, Rebecca, and David, and lots of kittens. Alastair McAllister is her real-life exotic long-haired cat. Valerie is a strong advocate for animals.

These days, Valerie spends her days deep in the details working for Microsoft and working on her next book.

She hopes everyone can see themselves in Alastair McAllister, as every child is unique and special in their own way.

First Place Chanticleer International Book Awards
Third Place Wishing Shelf book awards
Winner Purple Dragonfly award
Finalist American book fest awards
Listed on the 25 best children’s books in the PNW
5-star Readers Favorite Review

    Book Review

Reviewed by Philip Van Heusen for Readers' Favorite

The first day of school is full of excitement and fear. There are new things to learn, new buildings to explore, a new schedule, and hopefully, new friends. Unfortunately, these exciting things can also cause fear. Fears include what if I can’t learn fast enough, what if I get lost, and what if I mess my schedule up? However, the biggest fear is what if the other kittens don’t like me? Alastair faced all these things and more in Alastair McAllister Goes to School by Valerie Ramer. To make matters worse, Alastair was not like all the other kittens. Alastair learned that different is good. What was different actually turned out to save the day. Read this exciting book and understand how being different can be what attracts others to you. Great book to help your children know that the differently-abled are important.

What if you are different than all the other little kittens? How do you fit in? For example, Alastair is a long-haired cat who starts school with many short-haired kittens. The other kittens look at Alastair and make fun of his differences. Reading this book with your children will give you the opportunity to help your children see the sameness in others instead of the differences. Differently-abled children are the same as other children, but their abilities differ. Teach your children that different is good. The tables turn when Alastair uses one of his differences to protect the other kittens. At the end of the day, Alastair is excited because he was accepted as he is. The illustrations in Alastair McAllister Goes to School are eye-catching. Children will love this book.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

The very first day of school can be very daunting, especially for a kitty named Alastair who is starting his first day of kittygarten. He was really excited, looking forward to learning new things, playing with other kitties, and making lots of friends. That didn’t happen, at least not at first. As soon as he entered the kittygarten classroom, the other kitties started making fun of Alastair: his tail was too big and fluffy, his nose was so pink it looked like bubble gum and his face was so flat he couldn’t eat his lunch from a bowl as it would make such a mess of his face. Alastair’s first day of kittygarten didn’t go as he’d hoped it would. When he told his Mommy, she told him, “It’s okay to be different. I love you just the way you are.” Alastair wasn’t so sure about being different and he had a plan to make him look like the other kitties and fit in. Only that didn’t work as planned either.

Valerie Ramer’s picture book story, Alastair McAllister Goes to School, is a clever look at the difficult dilemma that all children must face: difference, equity, and inclusion. The author has woven a clever plot, using a kitty as the main character. Young readers will be charmed by Alastair as well as the clever manipulations of some of the words, like kittygarten, acatemy and purrfect. With short sentences and simple language, youngsters will find this book easy to read and improve their own reading skills. With lots of bright, colorful illustrations (some pages have multiple illustrations), the layout is similar to a graphic novel. Some of the words are highlighted in different fonts and different colors, perhaps a metaphor on its own emphasizing the issue of differences. The story is told with compassion and fun in an engaging and entertaining way. Well done!