Back to School Picks: Follow the Line to School
Follow the Line to School by Laura Ljungkvist
In the tradition of series books like “I Spy” and “Where’s Waldo” comes Laura Ljkungkvist’s books, “Follow the Line”.
Born in Sweden, she honed her talents as a freelance illustrator. “The New Yorker”, “Harper’s Bazaar and “House and Garden” were in the mix of her varied clients.
She then segued to author and illustrator of seven children’s books, including four “Follow the Line” series. Creativity and rule following don’t necessarily go hand in hand, so I had to laugh out loud when I read her dedication:
“To all the teachers who, over the years
tried to make me put down my pencil, stop drawing
and pay attention in class.”
Thank heavens this was not the case, as delving into Ms. Ljunkgvist’s book, “Follow the Line to School” produces a linear, exciting chalk line which, for a child returning or even beginning school, is reassuring, informational and gets them to “put their thinking cap on” using a creative and interesting formula. Following the line is easy, fun and fact-filled.
From the outset, school is described as “exciting” with its introduction to music, reading, math and writing. The typical school day is mapped out with time for lunch, recess and art.
Knowing what something looks like and what will greet you when you get there can definitely be the shot in the arm of confidence a young child facing the big unknown of “SCHOOL” needs. Additionally, it may also have a calming effect on first time parents seeing their children off to school on the big day.
A charming front of a classroom is presented on one page with the class pet, Fred clearly visible at ear level. What kind of animal can he be, the child is asked? Hint: Fred has something in common with an animal referred to as a hare.
Similarly, an alphabet chart is prominent, as it is in most elementary classrooms, and one is asked what letter YOUR name starts with?
Counting elephants amid animals depicted in the science room is fun. I even noticed a penguin proudly displayed on the shelf. I admit it: I missed an elephant in the tusk count. You child will probably breeze through this one – please don’t give me up – math was my last favorite subject!
Children’s perception skills are intertwined with a collection of queries regarding a library scene, art room, mazes and games, cafeteria food, a playground, music room and finally, before departure for home, the favorite, “Show and Tell”
Her book is inventive, fresh, comfortable and learning oriented with an ability to hold a child’s interest and imagination.
Ms. Ljunkgvist has learned her lessons well as a children’s book author, meaning she hasn’t forgotten what it feels like to BE a child or what appeals to them.
It’s a great read for the child starting, returning or apprehensive about the school experience. Its final pages announce, “It’s so much fun to learn new things tomorrow brings”, with the ever present chalk line leading off into the future in much the same way as the day began. “Follow the Line to School” gives a positive spin of possibilities to a child’s school experiences. Kids will take to it and fall in love with the class pet, Fred. He’s cute. Hint: He has wiggly ears!