Recently we were sent (POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS) Whizzy Willow’s First Day at School for review. I was really looking forward to this one as my girls will be having their own first day at school in September and I have been looking for tools to help me get them ready for the next step in their lives.
The Story and Characters
When I first looked at the book I thought that my children my lose interest; not because of the story itself, but because there are a lot more words/ page than you would typically see in a book aimed at preschool. This means less pictures and page turning so I wondered if they would get distracted, but no! The characters are really engaging. The girls especially liked Mr Oak, the teacher. He is part man, part oak tree and they thought that was really funny. Whizzy Willow himself is a very sweet character who rushes around and creates a bit of chaos, but who is very likable. Parts of the story slightly confused me as they seemed less relevant to the theme of starting school, but my girls loved it. They liked that Whizzy was randomly talking to owls and I think this kept them engaged with the book.
It is Educational
The thing I liked the best about this book was the wide range of vocabulary that was used. There are some fab words in there that my kids certainly hadn’t heard before and I love that. I think it is great for kids to hear new words all the time. Whilst Whizzy Willow’s First Day at School is a gentle story aimed at the pre school audience it isn’t dumbed down for them and so I think represents a real learning opportunity as well as a great opportunity to sit quietly and think/ talk about starting school.
The illustrations in Whizzy Willow’s First Day at school are colourful and busy. There is a lot going on in the pictures which is perfect for starting discussion and engaging pre school children with a book. These types of illustration when there are also things going on the background of the picture are brilliant for using with our daughter who has a speech delay. We can talk about not only what the main characters are doing, but also encourage her to talk about and identify the activities that others are doing. My girls especially liked the drawings of the characters who were part tree and part human.
Overall the message of Whizzy Willow’s First Day at School is that Whizzy is nervous, but quickly makes friends and has such an interesting and diverse day that he can’t wait to go back. Now I am not sure my girls will find talking owls or school kittens when they get to school in September, but I know they will find lots of different activities and new children to play with. This book gave us a great starting point for talking about what they might expect when they go to school. It started to get them excited and we were able to talk about possible concerns from the safety of applying them to Whizzy.
Whizzy Willow’s First Day at School was written by Billie Rayatt. Billie is a mother to two and who works in primary schools. She brings lots of first hand experience of children starting school. She is passionate about inspiring a love of books in young children. This colourful, exciting book is a great start towards that aim; in my opinion.
I liked Whizzy Willow’s First Day at School as a learning opportunity and a conversation starter. It has a really positive message. The girls request it again and again so it certainly captured their imagination and they definitely enjoyed it. Mission accomplished I would say!