This paper details and compares the discernable trends observed in a wide-ranging review of the recent starting school literature in Australia and beyond. More than half of the research reviewed considers children's readiness for school. This research is critiqued through a three-way view of readiness: child readiness, school readiness and support available through the family. Distinctions between transition to school and school readiness are made and the consequences of these are investigated for all key participants in the transition process: children, educators and families. The paper concludes with a critical consideration of tensions in the research around starting school.