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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.
From Kirkus Reviews
Danneberg puts a fresh twist on an annual crisis suffered by millions: the arrival of that dread day in September when school starts. The alarm rings, but Sarah Jane Hartwell just burrows deeper into her covers, announcing that shes not going, wailing `` `I dont know anybody, and it will be hard, and . . . I just hate it, thats all.' '' Finally, Mr. Hartwell firmly orders her down to breakfast, puts her in the car and drops her off to join the children flooding through the school doors. Love fills the sharply detailed illustrations with happy, individually distinct faces, vividly capturing the fateful mornings hubbub and, aside from a few hints for the sharp-eyed, artfully setting viewers up for the climactic revelation that Sarah Jane is not a student, but a teacher. Many children will be amazed at the idea that teachers get butterflies too, especially if theyve been exposed to the hyper-efficient protagonist of Joseph Slates Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready For Kindergarten (1996). (Picture book. 6-8) -- Copyright ©2000, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
*Don't order this too close to the first day of school. I put it off and it literally came the day before school. I was very stressed as I planned for it to take up a lot of the first day. I thought I would have to redo my plans and recycle my precious copies. It worked out but I would encourage you to order in advance.
*Order a copy for each one of your teammates. When your grade level teammates hear and see this story and the cute activities you are going to do with your class, they will want to do the same. This will mean that you have to pass this to a different teacher at each of your breaks and you won't get it back until Thanksgiving. Better for them to have their own book.
*Don't share with the grade below you. You don't want them to start reading this book to their kids because they will know it when they get to you. Not to include spoilers-- but it's most fun if you haven't read it before.
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 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 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.