Children's Literature Bookshelf

“School’s First Day of School,” by Adam Rex, illustrated by Christian Robinson Roaring Book Press, New York, 2016, 40 pages, Grades K-1.

“School’s First Day of School,” by Adam Rex, illustrated by Christian Robinson
Roaring Book Press, New York, 2016, 40 pages, Grades K-1.

The first day of school can be both exciting and frightening. For older children, beginning school in the fall means seeing old friends and moving to a new classroom. Having been through the previous school year, these children know what to expect. But for kindergartners, the first day of school is like visiting a new land. They know that all children go to school, but they don’t understand how they will fit into the new environment.

Adam Rex takes a unique twist on this old story of the first day of school. He looks at the beginning of the school year from the school’s standpoint. In so doing, he captures the fears and hopes of young children. This delightful book is entitled “School’s First Day of School.”

All summer, the work crews prepare the land, pour cement and lay bricks for the new school. Next, the workers complete the construction of the classrooms and gym. Finally, the new school is ready to receive students. But since the school has never served as a school, she is anxious and unsure. Would she know how to open the doors correctly? What did the fire alarms do? What would happen if she accidentally pulls a fire alarm?  The janitor kept assuring her that the school year is an enjoyable time and that working with children can be fun.

Well, ready or not, the first school day arrives. The school anxiously meets the students on the first day. The kindergarten class is especially challenging. Several children are so frightened that the teacher must take special care to calm them. One little girl is not able to even say her name. The school is very sympathetic to the young children. She wants to calm them down and tries to make sure the water fountains and other parts of the building work properly.

The building especially cares for the frightened children but does slip up herself. One cranky, bullying child turns the water fountain on and gets squirted in the face. Immediately, the school regrets its immature action. But finally, by the end of the day, most of the children are starting to fit in. The school realizes that she has much to learn. But with a sigh of relief, she feels capable of being a school. What has happened to help the school feel happy? Can a school have feelings?

Have you ever been anxious about the first day of school? What does it feel like to go to a higher grade? Do you have a favorite teacher? Who has helped you at school? Who helped the school be glad that she was a school? To find out the answers to these and other questions, go to the library and check out this lovely story, “School’s First Day of School” by Adam Rex.

This comforting story is sure to become a standard each year when school begins. The feelings the school has about beginning the school years will reflect the uncertainty and fears many youngsters have upon returning to school or enrolling for the first time. Rex gently introduces readers to the sometimes scary world of school and helps them cope with their uncertainties. A great read-aloud with younger children, “School’s First Day of School” is a hit. I hope you get a chance to read the book. Enjoy!

Terrence Nollen




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