Wednesday, August 20, 2008

School Days: First Day Jitters by Julie Danneborg

"Sarah, dear, it's time to get up for school," Mr. Hartwell said, poking his head through the bedroom doorway. "You don't want to miss the first day at your new school, do you?"

"I'm not going," said Sarah. "I don't want to start over again. I hate my new school!"

It's a seasonal rerun of the first day of school. Sarah burrows back under the covers and pulls the pillow over her face. Entreaties about all the wonderful new friends waiting to be made cut no ice with her.

"That's just it. I don't know anybody and it will be hard and . . . .I just hate it, that's all."

Mr. Hartwell reminds Sarah that the school is expecting her, and amid visions of police cruisers unloading search parties, and schoolkids peering under desks and into lockers, she grumpily begins to yank her shirt over her head. Mr. Hartwell hands over some toast and a full lunchbox and, still watched by their bemused cat and dog, stuffs her quickly into the car. Sarah ducks low in her seat, and barely able to breathe, suffers first day jitters all the way to the door of the school.

There's no escape when Sarah arrives, though, as Principal Burton spots the car and bustles over, surrounded by a hoard of excited kids, to propel Sarah down the busy hall and into her new classroom, where a room full of curious kids swivel around to stare at her arrival. Mrs. Burton leads Sarah to the front of the room and clears her throat.

Class, attention, please!" she intones.

"Class, I'd would like you to meet...your new teacher, Mrs. Sarah Jane Hartwell!"

Illustrator Judy Love does a great job of cleverly keeping most of Sarah Jane under wraps and out of sight as she is hustled along all the way to her place at the head of her class. Although there are perhaps a few hints that Sarah Hartwell is more than a kid, we see mostly her bare feet sticking out of the covers, and the top of her head as she is bustled into the car and into the school. Julie Danneborg's First Day Jitters has a hilarious surprise ending as the reader realizes that it's a new teacher who is in the throes of those familiar first-day fears, suffering along with her students as they worry about starting all over again with a new class. A great read aloud for the night before the first day or for a new teacher's break-the-ice read-along for the beginning of a new school year.

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  • Awesome. The Littlest Critic is about to start her new school, a different one from the preschool she attended, and we're all a little apprehensive.

    We'll see how this one works. Plus, The Wife is a teacher, so I think the two of them will really enjoy this.

    Once again, score!

    By Blogger The Critic, at 9:35 AM  

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