Back-to-School Readiness

Little ones can feel a mix of excitement and apprehension before school starts especially now that most of them are returning to full-time, in-person classes. Here are some great books to help prepare them for school and a return to some sense of normalcy.

Alis the AviatorAlis the Aviator
By Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail
Illustrated by Kalpna Patel
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101919057 | Tundra Books
Come along on an aviation journey with Alis! This spunky female guide will take you through an ABC of planes featuring gorgeous cut-paper art. An A to Z of planes past and present, this book has stunning cut-paper art and a cute-as-a-button guide named Alis. Named for Dr. Alis Kennedy, likely one of the first Indigenous women to obtain a commercial pilot licence in Canada, Alis will take you on an aviation tour from the Avro Arrow to the Zeppelin and everything in between. Meticulously researched and uniquely crafted, this is a one-of-a-kind book that will delight aviation fans big and little.

Check out the Alis the Aviator activity kit!

Anne’s School Days
By Kallie George
Illustrated by Abigail Halpin
72 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267343 | Tundra Books
Anne loves autumn in Avonlea, and she’s been enjoying her first three weeks of school. It helps that she walks to school with and sits next to her kindred spirit, Diana Barry. However, one day, Gilbert Blythe joins the class. According to Diana, he’s very handsome, and smart too. However, Gilbert immediately gets on Anne’s nerves. When he pulls on Anne’s braid and calls her “Carrots” because of her red hair, enough is enough. How can Anne enjoy school when Gilbert is ruining everything? Anne vows never to talk to Gilbert again, and even stops going to school for a time when her teacher forces Anne to sit next to her rival. But later, when Anne has an accident on the pond and her wooden plank sinks, who should come to her rescue but her nemesis, Gilbert Blythe?

Check out the Anne’s School Days activity kit!

Babble! And How Punctuation Saved It
By Caroline Adderson
Illustrated by Roman Muradov
72 Pages | Ages 7+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735265837 | Tundra Books
Chaos reigns in the village of Babble! All day, the residents fight, yell and argue, and no one is heard or understood . . . until a mysterious little girl arrives and gives the locals something very strange: a period. But what is this thing that looks like a freckle or a spot? The villagers don’t even know how to ask. However, as the girl begins to share more gifts – a question mark, quotation marks – the residents slowly learn how to communicate. But when more fights arise and disaster strikes, can punctuation truly save the day?

Count on MeCount on Me
By Miguel Tanco
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735265752 | Tundra Books
Everyone has a passion. For some, it’s music. For others, it’s art. For our heroine, it’s math. When she looks around the world, she sees math in all the beautiful things: the concentric circles a stone makes in a lake, the curve of a slide, the geometric shapes in the playground. Others don’t understand her passion, but she doesn’t mind. There are infinite ways to see the world. And through math is one of them. This book is a gorgeous ode to something vital but rarely celebrated. In the eyes of this little girl, math takes its place alongside painting, drawing and song as a way to ponder the beauty of the world.

Check out the Count on Me activity kit!

Narwhal’s School of Awesomeness
By Ben Clanton
88 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735262546 | Tundra Books
Dive into four new stories about Narwhal and Jelly becoming substitute teachers! The two best friends come across an enthusiastic school of fish one morning. Unfortunately, Mr. Blowfish, their teacher, has come down with a cold, and class will have to be cancelled . . . until Professor Knowell (Narwhal) and Super Teacher (Jelly) volunteer to help out! The first subject is Wafflematics, in which Narwhal and Jelly calculate the number of waffles needed to feed the class. That’s what we’re chalking about! Next up is a super-fun science scavenger hunt, followed by a game of “Tag! You’re Awesome!” at recess. Narwhal’s teaching methods may be unconventional, but with Jelly’s help, the two teach (and learn) with their trademark positivity and humor. Before they know it, the day is over . . . but what grade will Narwhal receive from Jelly?

Check out the Narwhal’s School of Awesomeness activity kit!

Professor Goose Debunks Goldilocks and the Three Bears
By Paulette Bourgeois
Illustrated by Alex G. Griffiths
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267305 | Tundra Books
Mother Goose’s fairy tales are NOT based in science, and her great niece Professor Goose thinks it’s time to share the truth. Join Professor Goose as she – literally – travels through the pages of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, fact-checking, exposing the flaws and explaining the science. Bears don’t live in cottages – they prefer dens! The smallest bowl of porridge wouldn’t be “just right” – it would have been the coldest! Professor Goose is delighted to see Baby Bear use the scientific method and Goldilocks’s fight or flight response. And maybe Goldilocks should have used a GPS so she wouldn’t have gotten lost in the first place? Jammed with jokes and wonderfully silly illustrations, this book entertains while it introduces basic scientific laws and rules to young readers. At the back of the book, readers will find Professor Goose’s  instructions on how to engineer their own chair for a (teddy) bear!

Too Many Pigs and One Big Bad Wolf: A Counting Story
By Davide Cali
Illustrated by Marianna Balducci
36 Pages | Ages 3-6 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735269910 | Tundra Books
In this clever counting book, the big bad wolf doesn’t want to tell a long story. He wants to get to the eating part. But the reader has other ideas. From a pig soccer team to a pig for every letter of the alphabet to 101 pigs in an animated movie, the stories get more and more fantastical . . . but they’re always too short and they ALL end the same way. Using an abacus as the basis for her illustrations, Marianna creates beguiling little pigs and a menacing but slightly bored wolf that perfectly complement the inventive story by Davide Cali. Come for the counting, stay for the storytelling! This book has it all.

What Does Little Crocodile Say?
By Eva Montanari
40 Pages | Ages 2-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735268135 | Tundra Books
What sounds does the Little Crocodile hear on the first day of preschool?
The alarm clock goes ring, ring
The car goes vroom, vroom
The elephant says peekaboo
The drum goes rat-a-tat
The food goes nom nom nom
And the crocodile says . . . WAHHHH!
In this charming book of sounds, a little crocodile experiences the highs and lows of preschool, ultimately enjoying their day . . . after a small meltdown, of course! Little ones will delight in the adorable illustrations and fun read-aloud, and parents will delight in the sly humor and familiar emotional rollercoaster of a toddler’s day.

Check out the  What Does Little Crocodile Say? activity kit!

Your First Day of Circus School
By Tara Lazar
Illustrated by Melissa Crowton
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Paperback
ISBN 9781774880388 | Tundra Books
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls of all ages! It’s the most amazing day on earth: the first day of school! It can be a daunting prospect, but don’t worry – your big brother can show you the ropes. Join a nervous boy and his enthusiastic older brother as they navigate the highs and lows of a first day at school . . . except this school is a big top, and the teacher is named Miss Stupendous, and the cafeteria can be a zoo, literally! It turns out, school isn’t so scary when you can let off steam during recess (on a steam train) and walk on stilts to all of your classes. With a bit of help from family and some new friends, you’ll make it to the top of the class in no time! This charming take on school readiness will delight new school-goers and take a bit of the fear out of those first-day jitters.