School's First Day of School
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that School's First Day of School by Adam Rex, illustrated by Newbery Award winner Christian Robinson (Last Stop on Market Street), is about the anxieties and fears kids might face when they first start school, with a very clever twist: It's the school itself that's brand new and worried about the first day. This school has feelings kids will recognize and relate to, and the book provides realistic but reassuring information about what they might expect. (Will the school like the kids? At first he doesn't.) Robinson pictures a warm, diverse environment that's integrated racially and includes a girl in a wheelchair playing with a friend on the playground. This warm, sweet, funny book is an absolute perfect choice for kids about to venture off to school.
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What's the Story?
In SCHOOL'S FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, a new school, built over the summer, anticipates the start of his busy new life. At first, "a man named Janitor" comes and tells the school that soon children will be there, too. And though Janitor assures the school he'll like them, the school worries that he probably won't and feels overwhelmed when the kids arrive by the busload, "more of them than the school could possibly have imagined." The school day progresses: Kindergartners sit on a rug and introduce themselves, there's a fire drill, lunch in a cafeteria, a lesson about shapes, and an art project. After the kids leave, the school tells Janitor all about his day and realizes he feels lucky to be a school.
Is It Any Good?
In this perfectly pitched, emotionally resonant book, a school building worries about and adjusts to the arrival of kids and the first day of school and ends up looking forward to the second. The book introduces school routines -- sitting on a rug, eating in a cafeteria, fire drills, recess -- clueing kids in on what to expect. Throughout, the school's reactions are cleverly and recognizably "human" and leavened with gentle humor. At the water fountain, the school sprays a kid who says, "I hate school," but then the school feels bad about it. At lunch, one kid squirts milk out of his nose, and the school thinks, "Now I'm covered with nose milk." And the only real threat comes from some older kids who look bored and say things like, "This place stinks."
The school, Frederick Douglass Elementary ("That's a good name for me," thought the school), has a seamlessly integrated student body, and, as with most adjustments, it's a friend who helps most. The janitor proves to be the perfect friend -- a good listener who's gently reassuring.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about school and what to expect. What does the book say to expect? What are some other things you might experience in school?
Though the school's an inanimate building, it has some of the same feelings as kids. What does it worry about? What do you worry might happen at school?
What jobs does the janitor do? How can you tell that the school and the janitor are becoming friends?
- Author: Adam Rex
- Illustrator: Christian Robinson
- Genre: Picture Book
- Topics: Friendship, Great Boy Role Models
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
- Publication date: June 28, 2016
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 4 - 8
- Number of pages: 40
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: July 13, 2017
Our Editors Recommend
Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten
Calms first-day-of-kindergarten fears.
Monsters Love School
Monsters lead way in reassuring first-day-of-school romp.
Monkey: Not Ready for Kindergarten
Warm book guides preschoolers through kindergarten nerves.
For kids who love picture books and stories about school
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