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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Firstgarten is a children’s picture book written by Carliss Maddox and illustrated by Steve Feldman. The first day of school had finally arrived, but Michael was not at all happy about being a first grader. He had loved kindergarten and thought it would be much better if he could continue going to kindergarten instead of first grade. His mother tried to explain that he was ready to take the next step in his education, which was being a first grader, but Michael was not at all convinced. What about being in Firstgarten? he wondered. Why can’t I do both? Michael’s mom was getting a bit impatient with her son. She just didn’t understand what his problem was. But Michael, you see, loved his kindergarten teacher, Ms. Smith, and he loved the things they did in kindergarten, like painting, dancing, drawing and singing. How could first grade be anywhere near as much fun as that? When his mom brought him to his first grade class, his new teacher, Ms. Green, bent down to give him a hug, but Michael was more concerned about where he was. Was this firstgarten? Where are the tables? Where are the paints and art supplies? Michael wasn’t at all pleased with sitting at his own desk with the other first graders, and any time he had the opportunity to rejoin Ms. Smith’s kindergarten class, he made sure to join them.
Carliss Maddox’s children’s picture book, Firstgarten, is a charming and humorous tale about a little boy who loved kindergarten. Even the most confident kid facing the first day of first grade probably shares some of Michael’s fears and concerns over the new experience of being a first grader. Maddox’s story is an excellent way to approach the subject of both kindergarten and first grade, and Steve Feldman’s illustrations work perfectly with the plot. Each panel shows Michael as he is alternately with his first grade class and with Ms. Smith’s kindergartners. By the conclusion of the story, both Michael and young readers will be reassured that first grade will be just as much fun as kindergarten was, in fact, it might even be better. Firstgarten is a grand selection for story time and it’s most highly recommended.