BooksForKidsBlog

Friday, August 19, 2011

Back to School: Back to School Tortoise by Lucy M George

SUMMER WAS ALMOST OVER.

IT WAS TIME TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL.

TORTOISE STARTED THINKING, "WHAT IF....?"

Each new school year is a step into the unknown, and Tortoise is wary of the unknowns ahead on the first day. What if he does something dumb, like stumbling in front of his whole class? What if the lunch is so bad he can't eat it? What if the kids in his new class are mean to him?

It might even be worse!

WHAT IF HE TRIPPED WHILE GETTING LUNCH, AND ALL THE KIDS WERE MEAN TO HIM?

"I CAN'T GO IN!" TORTOISE THOUGHT.

Tortoise takes a time-out outside the school door to think about it. The new class could be awful. It happens. But then...he looks at it from another angle.

WHAT IF IT WAS FUN, WITH HIS FAVORITE LUNCH, AND... LOTS OF NEW FRIENDS?

It might be too good to miss. Tortoise screws up his courage, picks up his backpack and pushes through the schoolroom door, with a brave smile for everyone inside.

"GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE!" HE SAID.

"GOOD MORNING, MR. TORTOISE!" THEY SHOUTED BACK.

Even teachers have first-day jitters, and Lucy M. George's Back to School Tortoise (Albert Whitman, 2011) has a surprise conclusion that shows that opening-day anxieties are very much the same for teachers and their students, Merel Eyckman's gentle pastel pencil and watercolor illustrations help give a soft edge to this story of first-day-of-school fears.

For double read-aloud fun, follow up this one with Julie Dannenburg's First Day Jitters. which shares the same plot device and see how long it takes little listeners to pick up on the partially concealed visual cues that reluctant scholar Sarah Jane is really Ms. Sarah Jane Hartwell, a new teacher about to face a brand-new class in her brand-new school.

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