From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2-As in Goodbye Mousie (McElderry, 2001), a book about the loss of a pet, Harris and Ormerod successfully combine simplicity with sensitivity to take on another emotionally stressful situation-facing the first day of school. After packing his knapsack and choosing his clothes for the next morning, a young boy feels ready for just about anything. However, once the lights are out, he clutches Hank, his stuffed monkey, and begins to worry. Before breakfast, he declares that he intends to stay home, "Because on the very first day of school, you don't know anything!" His parents patiently address his concerns, which include not being familiar with the routine and a reluctance to leave Hank behind, and Mom comes up with the idea of taking the monkey along. Once the child is settled in Mr. Chase's classroom, all of his questions are answered and his fears are put to rest. Told from the youngster's point of view, this story is filled with details that will strike a chord with children. The vivid illustrations done in black pencil line and watercolor washes feature simple yet elegantly drawn characters. The bright colors of their clothing contrast neatly with the white backgrounds. The artwork extends the text, as the pictures show the narrator meeting another equally tentative child who is holding on just as tightly to his teddy bear; by day's end, the two are fast friends. A reassuring anecdote for those beginning-of-the-year jitters.
Joy Fleishhacker, formerly at School Library Journal
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
PreS-K. The first day of school is a daunting prospect, best avoided. For starters, how's a kid supposed to know the names of the other kids, where the crayons are, or what kind of juice might be available? And how could a person possibly leave his or her favorite toy monkey at home all by itself? The boy protagonist in Harris' winning first-day-of-school tale decides the night before class that he will not go to school but will instead wait until the second day, when there aren't so many unanswered questions. With a bit of gentle prodding, however, his parents finally get him to school--but not without the company of his sidekick monkey, Hank. Once there, of course, the experience is happily demystified, and he learns everything there is to know about kids, crayons, juice, and more. Children with first-day jitters will take comfort in this story, which shows that the first day of school can actually be fun. Ormerod's colorful, expressive illustrations capture a child's anxiety and the warmth of family with equal success. Karin Snelson
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