School’s First Day of School
by Adam Rex; illus. by Christian Robinson
Primary Porter/Roaring Brook 40 pp.
6/16 978-1-59643-964-1 $17.99 g
We’ve had many books about kids getting ready for the first day of school, but now we have another perspective: the school’s itself. The title page shows the finishing touches being added to a brand-new building. By the time the story starts, Frederick Douglass Elementary is ready, its door a smile, waiting for the first day. It quickly makes friends with Janitor but is worried about meeting the students (Janitor says: “‘Don’t worry — you’ll like the children.’ But the school thought that Janitor was probably wrong about that”). Turns out, Janitor is right about many things. As the day goes on, the school learns to appreciate the kids and hopes Janitor will invite them back. Rex’s droll telling is fun to read aloud, especially when the school is talking. Adults, who will no doubt be reading this over and over, will appreciate little jokes. “At three o’clock, the parents came to pick up the children. At three-thirty Janitor came to pick up the school.” Robinson’s naively styled paintings are the perfect complement to a warm, welcoming story. This diverse group of children is all circles: round heads, black-dot eyes, curly or bowl-shaped hairstyles. Even when they are acting silly (milk shooting out of a boy’s nose, for instance), they are likable and engaging, with each child depicted as a friendly-looking individual. Sure to become a staple for first days of school everywhere.
From the March/April 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.