School (the personified school building) is newly built, still very timid and unaware. Not sure exactly what he is. Janitor cares for School. Gets him ready for his first day. They speak together. School shares his worries, and Janitor reassures him that, “…you’ll like the children.” But School isn’t sure about that. We follow the events of that first day, and School shares his feelings throughout—nervousness, fear, embarrassment, wonder, joy, hope—all emotions that children can feel on their first day of school.

Nothing distracts from the essentials of this book. The crisp white background draws our focus to Robinson’s bright renditions. The school, its walls literally talk. This approach makes this book incredibly effective. The change of perspective will help concerned kids feel a little braver, and not worry so much, especially when they realise that everyone, or in this case everything, can come down with a case of the jitters.

Kids enjoyed the funny moments—the accidental fire alarm and “nose milk”, and I love the sweet interactions between School and Janitor. “Do you think…” the school said. “Do you think you could invite everyone to come back tomorrow? Especially that little freckled girl?” Janitor nodded. “I’ll see what I can do.”

School’s First Day of School, by Adam Rex and Christian Robinson is a must read, especially for those who are nervous about their own first day.

  • Published by Roaring Brook Press
  • 4-6 years
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