Book: Planet Kindergarten: 100 Days in Orbit
Author: Sue Ganz-Schmitt
Illustrator: Shane Prigmore
Age Range: 5-8
Planet Kindergarten: 100 Days in Orbit is a sequel to Planet Kindergarten (reviewed here). Both books were written by Sue Ganz-Schmitt and illustrated by Shane Prigmore, and feature a boy's imagined (?) reality that his kindergarten is actually a base camp on another planet (with fellow students as crewmates, teacher as commander, etc.). This second book addresses the trend that has arisen (recently?) for classes to celebrate "100 Days of School" by having kids bring in 100 of something. My daughter did this in pre-k and kindergarten.
In Planet Kindergarten: 100 Days in Orbit, the crewmates arrive burdened by things like "100 ounces of goo", "100 globules" and more conventions bricks (legos) and cookies. The boy shares some highlights from his learning during his first 100 days of school, and then the crewmates "report to the rug with galactic pride, because today is a new milestone." Then they take some time out for "anti-gravity exercises", making medals, and building rockets. Artifacts from traditional kindergartens can be glimpsed in the illustrations (blocks and popsicle sticks, a nurse's office, etc.), but the text remains true to the spaceship premise.
Then the kids, I mean crewmates, present their 100 items. A near disaster occurs for our hero, but, with help from his colleagues, a crisis is averted, and the recruits survive to meet day 101.
The moral of the story is a bit overt for my personal taste:
"I am weightless, because know that no matter what new challenge lies ahead for the bold voyagers of Planet Kindergarten, we can count on each other... day 101 and beyond."
However the intergalactic and alien trappings should provide sufficient distraction for kids, and keep Planet Kindergarten: 100 Days in Orbit on the right side of entertaining.
I do love Prigmore's digitally created bright, stylized illustrations, which perfectly match the tone and subject of the book. The alien kids have a wide range of shapes and colors (including pinks and greens), and they're all engaging. I particularly like a pink-faced girl with huge glasses and a long, skinny neck.
The bottom line is that fans of Planet Kindergarten, of which there are many, will certain enjoy Planet Kindergarten: 100 Days in Orbit. The two books together would make a great first day of school gift for four or five year olds, particularly any who are obsessed with outer space. I also haven't seen a lot of 100th day of school books. This would be a fun read-aloud in any classroom celebrating that. Planet Kindergarten: 100 Days in Orbit is quirky, fun, and kid-friendly.
Publisher: Chronicle Kids (@ChronicleKids)
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
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