With summer beginning to wind down it’s time to start thinking about the new school year. For all kids it’s a new beginning. For some, who are just starting school, it’s an exciting time but it can also be a little scary. Our book recommendations this week address the First Day Jitters and the Night Before First Grade. Read them with your kids and help make the transition just a bit easier.
First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg. “Sarah is hiding under her covers as Mr. Hartwell asks, “You don’t want to miss the first day at your new school do you?” From under the blanket she replies, “I’m not going.” When he reminds her how much she liked her other school and asks her to think of all the new friends she’ll meet, she imagines a classroom where a paper airplane is flying, a boy is pulling his neighbor’s pigtail, and another is blowing a gigantic bubble. Mr. Hartwell finally gets Sarah to stumble out of bed, eat a bit of toast, and get into the car where she slumps down into her seat. At school, the principal cheerfully welcomes her and takes her to the classroom where she is introduced as “Mrs. Sarah Jane Hartwell,” the new teacher. There is a bit of foreshadowing that Sarah is an adult, but as she is always partially hidden, the ending will come as a surprise to most readers. The ink-and-watercolor illustrations are full of action and maintain the lighthearted tone. A little subplot in the paintings shows the family cat and dog having their own contest of wills while their owner is trying to get his wife up and out. The joke provides a good laugh and children may find it reassuring that they are not alone in their anxieties about new situations.Adele Greenlee, Bethel College, St. Paul, MN Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.” Review from Amazon.
Back to School, Mallory (Mallory Novels) by Laurie B. Friedman is for kids grade 2 through 4. “Summer is over and that can only mean one thing for eight-year-old Mallory McDonald (like the restaurant, but no relation)–she has to go back to school. But not just any school, a new school with all new kids in it. To make matters worse, her mom is going, too! She’s the new music teacher, and Mallory can’t think of anything that could possibly be worse–until her first day. She has to sit with Pamela, who always says the right thing and steals her ideas. Joey is so busy with his old friends that he has no time for her, and to top it off, she’s picked to be an eggplant in the Fall Festival her mom is putting on. It’s not fair! What can Mallory do? Should she give Pamela, and her new school, another chance?” Review from Amazon.
The Night Before First Grade (Reading Railroad) by Natasha Wing is kids age 4 and up. “It’s the night before the Big Day—-first grade! Penny is excited to start the year with her best friend right beside her in the same classroom. This humorous take on Clement C. Moore’s classic tale has a perfect twist ending that will surprise readers —as well as the “heroine” of the story— and help all about-to-be first-graders through their own back-to-school jitters.” Review from Amazon.