Sunday 14 March 2021

Frankie Goes to Kindergarten

Frankie Goes to Kindergarten by Peta Baxter and Connie Hemmens, Illustrated by Marjory Gardner (Ford Street) ISBN 9781925804676 (HB) and 9781925804683 (PB) RRP $24.95 HB and $16.95 (PB)

Reviewed by Nean McKenzie

This story is told from the perspective of an enthusiastic dog called Frankie who goes to work with his owner Miss Peta, a kindergarten teacher. Frankie enjoys every moment of kindy including the car ride there, the games and the snacks, even the tidying up. Everyone else at the kindergarten also really enjoys Frankie. On the day of the story, it is not only Frankie who has gone to kindy. George the cat has stowed away and is present in most pictures, partly hiding. Frankie goes to Kindergarten covers a day at kindergarten, what it involves and importantly, how much fun it all is.

Frankie is not just a character in a book, but also a real kindergarten therapy dog in north Queensland. His owner Peta Baxter is co-author of the book with fellow childhood educator, Connie Hemmens. Using simple language, the story is ideal for parents to read to children getting ready for kindergarten and could relieve a bit of anxiety - possibly for both parties! Therapy dogs are sometimes found in kindergartens and help kids learn about caring for animals and each other, as well as providing emotional support.

The book covers lots of queries kids may have including what happens when the parents leave (‘they’ll be back later’) and shows this happen. There are also sensible tips about wearing sunscreen and hats and being kind and gentle. Bright, colourful illustrations by Marjory Gardner fill the pages with many details for the child to notice while being read to. There’s the huge variety of toys the kids can play with at kindy, the yummy food they eat and the interesting range of activities (Frankie joins in with each one.) There’s also a whole fun side story about what George the cat is up to.

Frankie goes to Kindergarten is suitable for children ages 3+ years, especially if they are dog lovers.   

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