I am not usually a fan of character books, the writing tends to be unimaginative and formulaic. However one time of year I really like these books is back to school time. More specifically, for children starting school for the first time. The reason why is that when children can recognize and relate to the characters immediately they can be comforted more easily. If Barney, Clifford or Maisy like school and were okay, maybe they will be too. Also these books are very affordable, usually under $5 and easy to find. There are a lot of these types of books on the market here are a few we like at our house. Barney and Baby Bop Go To School by Mark S. Bernthal is a favorite around here. What I like about this book is that it covers all the things that a child can expect to encounter in an average preschool classroom. Blocks, art, music, circle time and snack are covered along with more. I like the book uses photographs of a real classroom instead of illustrations. Clifford's First School Day by Norman Birdwell is a cute story about Clifford's first visit to school when he was just a pup. This story covers some of the things a child can expect but more than anything it's a good story to reassure kids that teachers are there to help. Maisy goes to school by Lucy Cousins is a cute lift and flap book that in all honesty was probably written based on what would be cute as a lift and flap not as a story. There isn't much story but my son adores this book. It does touch on some of the more exciting things in a preschool classroom like feeding the pet fish and dress up as well as math, writing and art time. Wonder Pets : Off to School! by Sascha Paladino surprised me, yes it reads like a TV show, it should it was adapted from an episode but it's worth a look, especially if your child is a fan of this show. This book covers the all important issue of separation anxiety. I know when my son starts school in a few weeks this will be our major issue and he's already found comfort in this book. I hope that you don't pass by these books too quickly, they may not win any Newbery awards but they can be very useful tools for your family.