Young reader reviews: Ready, Steady, School!

Following on from our interview with translator Sarah Ardizzone yesterday, it is our absolute pleasure to welcome some of our youngest reviewers to date – Izzy and Robert, aged 4, along with their mums Ellen and Anne-Marie. They have been discussing Ready, Steady, School! by Marianne Dubuc, translated by Sarah Ardizzone and published by Book Island. Izzy and Ellen also shared Ready, Steady, School! with Izzy’s pre-school and we’re delighted to hear from their pre-school manager, Sophia….

Izzy (4)

Ellen and Izzy enjoying Ready, Steady, School!

I love the flying squirrels! I want to be a flying squirrel 😊
Finding the characters is funny; Snow White is having a lovely snooze with her friends. The frogs are making lots of mess with their paint pots but I’m sure they’re having fun. I wonder if their mummies will like their paintings? When Pom gets bigger and goes to school, I think he’ll have a good time with his different animal friends.


I love this book – I think it’s beautifully illustrated and has really set Izzy’s mind to rest about all the different things that will go on at school. It’s really helped cement the idea that going to school will be a great big adventure. As she’s a big bookworm generally, we will sit and look at every page in turn, reading all the text and finding all the characters every time. It’s a real joy to sit and read this book with Izzy, especially as it often sparks further conversations about what might happen next at school or who might be similar to some of the characters in the book. My only negative is that the “fairy-tale” element got a bit lost at times – e.g. the picture of the “tooth mouse” isn’t widely understood in English since we talk about the “tooth fairy” instead. On certain pages, we’ve struggled to work out what the fairy tale is meant to be.

Robert (4) & Anne-Marie

Robert isn’t a fan of books and won’t generally sit down to read one cover to cover. But this book is different – since we can dip in and out of the story, and instead focus on the pictures/finding the different characters, we’ve been able to create our own storylines on each page. He likes coming back to it time and again to discover something new.
Robert’s favourite page is the Hedgehog page – he says it’s made him feel more confident about going to school as he knows his mum will be there to pick him up at the end of the day.

Sophia (Pre-school Manager)

This book is fabulous – the idea behind it is perfectly pitched for our older, more able children who are about to go up to school. It’s been lovely working through the different pages with 2-3 children at a time. Sadly it’s a bit too big for us to handle for general story time – we’re just not strong enough and there’s too much detail to look at for a bigger group. However, with the book covering so many different elements, there’s something new to discover every time we read it. It’s also been a great conversation starter and has helped the children open up about how they feel about going to big school, particularly those who may be feeling slightly worried, anxious or nervous about it.


Our thanks to Ellen Worrell for collating these wonderful comments for us and sharing them with us.

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