Adam Rex tells a story that is so perfect it’s hard to believe no one else has thought of it before. The newly built Frederick Douglass Elementary is nervous about his first day of school. His friend the janitor, who is laconic yet warm, assures him that the kids will like him, that he can be himself (even if he did accidently have a fire drill). Feeling comfortable in one’s own skin, or bricks, while experiencing new ideas is what learning is all about. The acrylic paint and collage illustrations of Christian Robinson (the 2016 Caldecott winner) open the door to the school, where we see that when the children came, “there were more of them than the school could possibly have imagined. They got everywhere.” Author Adam Rex, who in the past has impressed with clever word play and complex construction, here revels in simple lines, easy cadence, quiet wit, and tenderness. While School’s First Day is ostensibly about a particular situation, this book can be read (and read and read) as a sweet, gentle way of overcoming fear. Grades pre-K–2.— GA
It's the first day of school at Frederick Douglass Elementary and everyone's just a little bit nervous, especially the school itself. 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.
Recipient of 7 starred reviews!
"Robinson (Last Stop on Market Street) gives the school just a hint of visual personification in his flattened, paint-and-collage artwork, as Rex (Moonday) deftly juggles well-placed jokes and keen insights into feeling comfortable in one’s own skin—or bricks, as the case may be."—Publishers Weekly, starred
"Using his signature, simple style, Robinson alternates scenes of the building and its interiors with shots that show the boisterously diverse kids' first day.A unique point of view makes this school book stand out."—Kirkus Reviews, starred
"Sure to become a staple for first days of school everywhere."—Horn Book, starred
"This charming reversal of first-day-of-school nerves will delight little ones
and help put their own anxieties at bay."—Booklist, starred
"An essential purchase that is simultaneously funny, frank, and soothing. A perfect first day read-aloud."— School Library Journal, starred
"A delightful, perspective-tweaking back-to-school picture book."—Shelf Awareness, starred
"Anthropomorphization of the whole building is a new and promising approach for school-shy youngsters, and it’ll make the already school-positive want to give their beloved building a hug."—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred