School’s First Day of School
by Adam Rex / illustrated by Christian Robinson
Roaring Brook Press – A Neal Porter Book
It’s the first day of school at Frederick Douglass Elementary and everyone’s just a little bit nervous, especially the school. What will the children do once they come? Will they like the school? Will they be nice to him?
The school has a rough start, but as the day goes on, he soon recovers when he sees that he’s not the only one going through first-day jitters.
What I love about this book
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up this book. I mean, the main character is a school for goodness sake. As a writer, I know that it isn’t easy to successfully convey the personality of an inanimate object and as a reader, I have come across a few books that just didn’t get it right. Going in, I knew it had more starred reviews than I can count on one hand so it must be amazing right?
Right. This is an amazing book. Adam Rex has written a story with heart (school meets a friend named Janitor who helps him adjust to the new changes he’s facing), vulnerability (when a little girl doesn’t want to go into School, School says “I must be awful.”) and a sense of humor (when a girl whispers into her lap “I don’t like school,” School thinks “well, maybe it doesn’t like you either.”) Who knew a school could be so funny?
Christian Robinson’s playful illustrations in primary colors are a perfect match for the story. Mr. Robinson is also the illustrator of one of my all-time favorite books of 2015, Last Stop on Market Street. If I haven’t convinced you yet… this a Neal Porter book, people, and with Neal Porter Books, we can always count on a hit.
Some readers have expressed their unhappiness with the fact that a couple of kids say things like, “This place stinks” and “I hate school.” I don’t see a problem here, picture books for the intended age range (4 to 8) do not (and should not) include only perfect people who always say the right things. Real people with real thoughts should be portrayed. The character’s chosen words show they are afraid of this new place called school, and sometimes it’s easier for one to say one hates something than to face the uncertainty of it. The inclusion of such characters gives parents and teachers a jumping off point to begin a conversation. Don’t miss this one-it’s an excellent addition to your playlist of books about the first day of school, friendship, and social acceptance.
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