On the Night Before Kindergarten

Image of On the Night Before Kindergarten
Release Date: 
June 27, 2023
Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Reviewed by: 

"a warm story with a fresh spin on the much-trodden subject."

The parents are the ones with the bad dreams and worries in this humorous twist on the usual first-day-of-school anxieties. At first Milo's parents say all the right supportive things:

"'Tomorrow,' said Milo's mama, 'you're sure to make terrific new friends!'

Milo's daddy said Milo would learn so much that he'd ace the Sunday crossword puzzle."

That night, Milo has three scary dreams, despite these assurances. But the next day, at the start of kindergarten, it's his mama and daddy who find their thoughts filled with scenes from Milo's bad dreams.

"Milo's runaway bus dream followed Mama to the school bus stop. . . The school bus dream also found Daddy.

'Don't worry,' said Daddy. 'If the bus doesn't stop, I'll get the police right on it. They'll chase it down and bring Milo home in a patrol car. So don't worry.'"

Each of the bad dreams plays out in a similar way, worrying Milo's parents who try to figure out happy endings for the problems. Meanwhile Milo is having no problems at all. He helps a classmate, Vidor, who's missing his home, holding his paw and reassuring him. He makes friends with another kitten, Elvis, showing him how to count carrot sticks.

"They practiced 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 until Elvis got it right.

'Wow!' said Elvis.

'Wow!' said Milo."

All through the day, Milo faces what could have been scary situations, including the bus ride home, and everything turns out better than all right with Milo making several new friends along the way. Milo will certainly have happy dreams that night. Mama and Daddy, however, may continue their worries. But that's nothing to upset Milo or any young reader.

Rosemary Wells has written more than 100 picture books. On the Night Before Kindergarten delivers just what you expect from such an experienced writer: a warm story with a fresh spin on a much-trodden subject. Add this book to your school-fears collection. It will become an instant favorite.