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.