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First Day Jitters (Mrs. Hartwells classroom adventures) Paperback – February 1, 2000
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From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3-Sarah is hiding under her covers as Mr. Hartwell asks, "You don't want to miss the first day at your new school do you?" From under the blanket she replies, "I'm not going." When he reminds her how much she liked her other school and asks her to think of all the new friends she'll meet, she imagines a classroom where a paper airplane is flying, a boy is pulling his neighbor's pigtail, and another is blowing a gigantic bubble. Mr. Hartwell finally gets Sarah to stumble out of bed, eat a bit of toast, and get into the car where she slumps down into her seat. At school, the principal cheerfully welcomes her and takes her to the classroom where she is introduced as "Mrs. Sarah Jane Hartwell," the new teacher. There is a bit of foreshadowing that Sarah is an adult, but as she is always partially hidden, the ending will come as a surprise to most readers. The ink-and-watercolor illustrations are full of action and maintain the lighthearted tone. A little subplot in the paintings shows the family cat and dog having their own contest of wills while their owner is trying to get his wife up and out. The joke provides a good laugh and children may find it reassuring that they are not alone in their anxieties about new situations.
Adele Greenlee, Bethel College, St. Paul, MN
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Julie Danneberg is the author of several books for children, including FIRST DAY JITTERS, FIRST YEAR LETTERS, LAST DAY BLUES, COWBOY SLIM, and FAMILY REMINDERS. She lives in Denver, Colorado.
Top customer reviews
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I bought this in my first year of teaching and it summed up how I was feeling and of course as most teachers are, I get nervous on the first day even though I've been teaching for years. The kids in class always love knowing that even teachers get nervous about the new school year and students - it makes teachers seem more human and relateable to the kids, which I really like.
I'm giving this 4 stars because the illustrations are HIDEOUS. The colors are fine and so are the background details, but the illustrations make the people's faces look distorted, exaggerated, and frightening. I also didn't like that the teacher says she'll "hate" her new school several times - I don't think that's the best choice of words so I replace that word when I read it aloud each year.
Overall, this is a great book to start the school year with!
The book reads as if it's a child who keeps trying to delay getting out of bed in the morning and going to school for the first day. At the end, it turns out it was the teacher who was delaying it because she herself was very anxious about it. This struck my son and he asked if teachers get nervous too. I said that they do because they want to do a good job and will have to learn all the new kids and parents and figure out how to uniquely deal with each one. It made him feel better to hear the teachers are also nervous.
In the book, the morning is hectic and Sarah Jane Hartwell is quite hesitentant to begin her first day at a new school. She has excuses for not going, believes no one will like her, states she hates her new school and she really liked her old school. The art wonderful details Sarah Jane's vision how she believes her new class will be (disruptive and unruly) compared with Mr. Hartwell's vision of a calm class full of potential friends.
This book is wonderful for starting Kindergarted or a new school. The ending made me laugh and cry at the same time. My daughter finished Kindergarten and is getting ready for the first grade, but she still asks me to read this book about once a week and we laugh as hard as we did the first time we read the book.
THE BEST BOOK to read on the first day of school. I love the students excitement at the end of the book....the story make you think it is a student who doesn't want to go back to school- but by the end of the book you find out it is a teacher. It is so well done, that I usually have to go back to pictures in the book showing how the teacher could be a child, but she is actually an adult.
The joke was above my students heads. I think the book is better used for talking about being nervous rather than a first day of school read aloud (at least not in 1st grade).