Friday, November 11, 2011

Sea Monster's First Day by Kate Messner - NOT RECOMMENDED

Messner, Kate and Andy Rash Sea Monster's First Day, 36 pgs. Chronicle Books, 2011. $16.99. It's Earnest the sea monster's first day of school, and he's both excited and nervous. Unfortunately, his size gets in the way, and he ends up ruining games, scaring the others, and breaking equipment. To add to the bad start, many of the other fish are cliquish, gossipy, and downright mean for no reason. Only when he finds other fish who "look a little like" him does he finally make friends.

While the book highlights natural fears some children may have when starting school, his classmates' extremely unkind - and totally unwarranted - behavior runs the real risk of making school seem like a very scary place, instead of reassuring them. In addition, I found Earnest's inability to make friends with fish who don't look like him disturbing. What does this teach children about racial differences? EL-NOT RECOMMENDED. Reviewer: Caryn

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