A sensory-sensitive kitty’s first day of kittygarten is a disaster, but after a break, she’s ready to try again, with some modifications.
Clover isn’t looking forward to kittygarten, and indeed, her first day is worse than she imagined. Salas’ word choices bring home to readers just how uncomfortable the situation is for Clover: “Sunshine glared”; “a bell…sounded like a GONG”; “Ms. Snappytail’s purrrrrfume stank.” Though readers will see the tender solicitations of Oliver as those of a perfect friend for someone with sensory issues, Clover is too distraught to notice. Her day ends with a (consequence-free) biting, spitting “hissy fit.” Clover stays home for the next three days; her mother doesn’t push. Oliver comes by twice, but Clover hides. It’s clear, though, that her desire for companionship will win out, and on Friday, armed with sunglasses, earmuffs, and her own mat for naptime, she returns to kittygarden. The day isn’t perfect, but by taking care of her specific needs, Clover survives with the help of her “calm, kind friend” Oliver. Readers and their caregivers will wish for backmatter that might provide additional guidance, whether for themselves or to help a friend, and it’s disappointing that Clover has no help in brainstorming solutions or getting through the school day. She seems very much on her own aside from Oliver, who is almost too good to be true.
Those with sensory issues or those attending school with them may learn from these kitties’ examples.(Picture book. 4-8)