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Countdown to Kindergarten by Alison McGhee: A Review

countdown to Kindergarten book reviewWhen it comes to children’s books, it is always good to have in it a good dose of reality. Children will benefit from reading about things that can actually be applied in real life, and not just reading about stories full of pure fantasy and whimsy. Countdown to Kindergarten is one such book and it’s a great read for every child who is about to embark on one of the great chapters of life: beginning grade school. I borrowed this book, and a few other Kindergarten themed books from the library a few weeks before school opened to help Z.E.N. with some pre – Kindergarten jitters.


Countdown to Kindergarten describes the anxieties of a little girl who is about to start kindergarten and is counting the last 10 days before classes start. The main cause of her fear and anxiousness is the fact that she does not know how to tie her own shoelaces, and she is afraid to be the only one who doesn’t know in her class. While she does know the things that she can do, her knowledge that she yet doesn’t know how to tie her shoes causes her a bit of concern. The little girl still goes to attend her first day and finds out that majority of the kids in her class don’t know how to tie their shoelaces either.

Great for Kids Starting School

If your child is starting kindergarten and is experiencing the same kinds of anxieties, then Countdown to Kindergarten is a great book to learn from. By reading the book, children will realize that it is normal to have certain fears on the first day, but at the end of it, they will realize that everybody else has the same concerns. It helps children realize that there are other children like them. Like the girl in the book, Z.E.N does not yet know how to tie his shoes, so he was relieved to learn that other children in Kindergarten don’t know how to tie their shoes either. It’s a great book for children who are preparing for kindergarten and have no idea of what to expect going in.

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Cleverly Written with Beautiful Illustrations

Aside from the emotional development that the book is able to provide children, it is also a very interesting text and kids will enjoy the story told in the book. Alison McGhee has incorporated cute scenarios into the text that are charming and amusing. Also, the book is written like a comic strip in picture book format, making it all the more entertaining for the readers. Z.E.N cracked up at some of the pictures of the cat.  The pictures were really hilarious!

A Great Addition to any Bookshelf

While this book might be most suited for children who are actually getting ready for kindergarten, it is still a great addition to any child’s bookshelf. Some parents have said that it caused some unnecessary anxiety to their children, but the book helps children get an idea of how life really is in school. It’s a great parent tool for opening up topics about school and clearing up any misconceptions they may have. Both author and illustrator have come up with a product that is as entertaining as it is educational.

Product Details:

Reading level: Ages 4-8

Paperback: 32 pages

Publisher: Sandpiper (July 1, 2006)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 015205586X

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__________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

About the author

Diane Nassy

Diane is a New Jersey-based writer and blogger. She is a wife and the mom of a 9-year-old little boy. Through her blog, she wants to inspire moms to find Zen in their lives while offering practical tips and other valuable information to help families deal with everyday issues. Check out Diane's Google+ profile "


  • I love books that encourage children to open up and talk to their parents about things that might be bothering them. There can be a tendency for them to keep quiet about their fears, but the only way they can be addressed is if they tell someone. Great read, Diane and a lovely review, thank you.


  • Thanks for making us aware of this book Diane. Believe it or not, I once worked as a Kindergarten teacher and the first day (week?) usually is quite an adventure. Some of the children are well prepared to start school. They are independent, follow directions and in good spirits. However, there are always a few who are very upset at the prospect of being away from their parents — perhaps for the first time. Every starting class has one or two screamers who literally begin to scream and bawl their eyes out. These children might even run out of the classroom and chase Mom when she attempts to leave. “Countdown to Kindergarten” sounds like it would be a good way to help prepare kids for school.

    • When Z.E.N started Pre-K, he was one of those kids who cried alot in the morning. I think books like this would also work well in preparing kids for Pre-K.