Tibili is a happy little boy who laughs all the time, morning to night. Sometimes, if he is not too tired from playing all day, he even laughs himself to sleep.But the laughter stops when his mother tells him that he'll be starting school the next year.
So he tries to talk to the animals and find ways out of going to school. He gets a lot of advice, but it is the advice of a spider named Crope that catches his attention. The spider tells him to find the big red stone and dig for the Box of Knowledge. If he can open this Box of Knowledge, he'll have his answer. He goes, he searchs, he finds. But alas, he can't find the directions on the Box of Knowledge because he doesn't know how to read. Instead of being discouraged, frustrated, or angry, Tibili hides the box and rushes home to his mother to ask WHEN school is starting.
The message the boy learns, it seems to me is that school has a purpose. Learning to read has a purpose. Reading DOES open the Box of Knowledge. Other books with this theme include Lauren Child's I Am Absolutely Too Small for School. (It's another 'international' title as a matter of fact. England.)
While it is natural for children to have doubts, worries, and fears about starting school for the first time, parents can reassure their children in many different ways that everything will be okay.