"Princess Posey and the First Grade Parade" by Stephanie Greene

On not missing out, aka review of “Princess Posey and the First Grade Parade” by Stephanie Greene

My daughter is in first grade so it seemed like a good idea to listen to a story about a first grader. From the dozen or so audiobooks I picked up at the library for our road trip this is the one my princess chose to listen to. Once we started to listen to it I got concerned though how it would affect her mood. After all she has been doing distance education, for the whole of her first garde so far; i.e. sitting in front of a screen during school hours and she was not enjoying it much. Listening to a story in which a rising first grader is preparing for her first day of in person school experience could have darkened her spirit. I needn’t have to worry. After we finished the half hour book she declared that she liked it and was definitely cheerful.

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The story is simple and educational enough: a little girl is worried that at the first day of her school she will need to kiss goodbye to her mother at the school’s entrance and she won;t be able to accompany her in. Anxiety grows in her about this, until they accidentally meet with her future teacher and she, the teacher, allows the girl’s idea to flourish: all first graders can come in their favorite clothes on the first day. Hence the subtitles of the first book in the Princess Posey series: first grade parade. This allows shifting the negative energy to positive anticipation. The narrator of the audiobook, Stine Nielsen, did an excellent job of reading in an emotionally charged voice the whole story going back and forth properly projecting the protagonist’s inner voice.

My child has been going to preschool/kindergarten for several years, on the same campus where her first grade would have been, so I realized she didn’t necessarily share Princess Posey’s fears of being left alone by her parents or having to enter a room full of strangers alone for the first time. The book not just entertained us on part of the long drive, but also prompted us to talk about her feelings about school. She had many, but didn’t really want to talk about. I saw in her clever eyes that her mind was working hard after listening to the book. It may help your first graders too in this strange pandemic year to open up about their feelings, so go ahead read the book to them or listen to the CD version together.

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