Thursday, July 16, 2015

ALLY-SAURUS & THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL by Richard Torrey [Review & Giveaway]

Summer will be over before you can say "Jack Robin" or quick as a wink and before the leaves turn red and orange. Mom will be buying backpacks, pencils, crayons and all kinds of goodies and tools of the craft of being a student. And for that first-ever-in-school-child there will be talks and instructions and all kinds of fear-allaying techniques. 

Meet ALLY-SAURUS as she goes to her First Day of School.....

About the book: You can call her Ally-SAURUS! When Ally roars off to her first day at school, she hopes she'll meet lots of other dinosaur-mad kids in class. Instead, she's the only one chomping her food with fierce dino teeth and drawing dinosaurs on her nameplate. Even worse, a group of would-be "princesses" snubs her! Will Ally ever make new friends? With its humorous art, appealing heroine, and surprise ending, this fun picture book celebrates children's boundless imagination.

My thoughts: First a quick glance through the book at Richard Torrey's delightful drawings. He uses color sparsely and in just the right places. It emphasizes what is important in that drawing.

The children are sketched with lines for smiles and dots for eyes. And their teacher wears big, bug-eye glasses. There are lots of stripes  on kids in their shirts, dresses, and leggings. Typical of kids. And drawings that make kids comfortable because they, too, can draw dots for eyes and lines for smiles.

Ally loves dinosaurs and her vivid imagination - so typical of the young child - carries the dinosaur on her very person. She is Ally-Saurus and she goes to school for the first time.

She meets the other children and find they, too, have vivid imaginations and their imagination has made them princesses, pirates, astronauts and other creatures and persons. Some don't want a roaring dinosaur around them, but soon they all discover that friends understand that each likes different things.

I just love Ally-Saurus. She will find her way into your, and your child's, heart and will help you to help your child enter their own first day of school.

Let's meet the author:

  1. What gave you the idea for Ally’s “Saurus” identity and its relationship to her first day of school?
    First of all, Ally-Saurus was originally going to be about a boy.  When my son was between the ages of 3 and 5 he often insisted that he was a giant black dog.  He would then rattle off a litany of specific characteristics that he (as the giant dog) had, including sharp teeth, claws, and a spiked collar.

    His description never varied, and if we ever interrupted him while reciting said attributes, he would have to start over—in case we had forgotten or missed one.  In other words, while this was his imagination at work here, he was quite serious about it.  Looking back on it, my wife and I concluded that he might have pretended to be this giant fearless dog to compensate for the fact that he was always the smallest child in any classroom he was in (he has Celiac Disease and before he was diagnosed and treated, was quite small).
  2. I read a bit about your background and you began doodling as a child. Taking that talent to a professional level is amazing. Do you even feel you have lost your love of doodling and it has become a chore? 

    While I have never lost my love of doodling, I find that I don’t spend the same amount of time “just doodling”.  Because I now do it professionally, and due to the constraints of time, I rarely just pick up a piece of paper or a pad and just doodle. If I do, I almost reflexively become aware of the fact that I need to be perfecting a character’s look, or expanding on an idea I’m trying to develop, and invariably that doodle becomes something else…. something with a purpose behind it.  I’m not complaining, mind you.  I love it just the same.
  3. What advice would you give aspiring illustrators and authors of children’s books?
    I would first ask them if they are really interested in creating children’s books or are they more focused on being able to hold that book up and say, “I DID THIS!”. 

    Those who will succeed are the one’s who are interested in the creative process.  It is fraught with rejection and disappointment, but if they stay positive, and learn from the rejections or the mistakes, they will, in the end, make it.  There is no one guaranteed path to success.  There is one guaranteed path to failure, and that is quitting.  As Richard Bach said, “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”

Let's have some fun! Here is a link for downloadable activity sheets. These are sure to please. Word games, a maze, color, draw. Just sheer fun as a gift from Richard. CLICK HERE

Begins July 16 & ENDS August 3 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT.
 Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate this review from Sterling Publishing. Opinions are mine, alone. I received no compensation. The giveaway copy is also provided by Sterling who will send it to the winner.


  1. I love imaginative play, and we did quite a bit of that when we prepared our children for school. It was easier with my younger son...because my older daughter was by then 'experienced' and could tell him/act out what a school day was like. They both had been to pre-school, so they were ready. And my daughter especially seemed like she was born to go to on the bus & never looked back!

  2. This looks like a really fun book! I love back-to-school books! Thanks for sharing this post at Booknificent Thursday this week! Always glad to have you!

  3. My son was in preschool which really helped him prepare for school. I also read to him. I think imaginative play is quite important for kids.

  4. I love this book. It would be great for my granddaughter too. Thanks for sharing on Literacy Musing Mondays.

  5. The importance of imaginative play helps children develop and discover their world. For my children it was one of the first things we did. I would pretend with tea cups and have them fill them with imaginary tea. This tea time with them helped their language develop and learn interaction skills.

  6. This book would help in the process. I would talk positively about school and engage in some imaginative play.

  7. We prepare by making sure we have every thing that is needed.


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