By Catherine Urdahl
Charlesbridge Press, $7.95, 32 pages
The first day of school can be scary, especially when you’re entering kindergarten. New rules, new people, and new personalities abound, and sometimes, not everyone gets along. How can you mend a class where everyone is struggling to fit in? Catherine Urdahl’s children’s book, Polka-dot Fixes Kindergarten, follows Dorothy, a.k.a. Polka-dot, as she begins her first day of school. She’s always relied on her grandpa to solve her problems, and he’s got a pretty good fix-it kit: duct tape, runny soap and bandages. He even gives his granddaughter a similar fix-it kit. When she arrives at school, fellow classmate Liz riles Polka-dot and the two are headed for a clash. After being bullied by Liz, Polka-dot finally stands up for herself and Liz backs away, into a fence, causing her dress to tear. Will the girls continue to fight or will they work together to fix this problem?
Illustrations by Mai S. Kemble set the tone and add definition to the storytelling. Urdahl’s story should be shared with elementary students. Not only does she discuss the importance of following classroom rules, she also presents a powerful message about working together to solve problems and not to let people bully one another.
Reviewed by LuAnn Schindler