Thursday, January 25, 2018

School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex, illus. by Christian Robinson

School’s First Day of School, like They All Saw a Cat, reviewed yesterday, shows how perspective shapes our views and our thoughts.  Brand-new Frederick Douglass Elementary School is being readied for its first day of the new school year.  But the school doesn’t really know what goes on in a school, and he’s worried that he won’t like it.  His friend Janitor tells him a bit, and he is still surprised by the huge number of children who come to him!  He discovers what his jungle gym is for and how much garbage lunchtime leaves behind.  He finds out that some children don’t like him, which makes him sad (and a little mad).  He listens in on a classroom and learns about shapes.  And he changes his mind from his first impression of a little girl with freckles in the kindergarten class. 

Childlike illustrations, painted and with elements of collage, contribute to the idea that the school is new at school just like the children.  The detail in the illustrations will almost certainly help children relate the book to something in their own schools.  Children will also enjoy the humor in school’s thoughts to himself throughout the day (a fire drill can be very embarrassing).  Now that children have made it through half of the school year and know how school works this year, it might be fun to look back and remember how it felt to be going to school for the first time. 

Remember when getting ready for September that Virginia Beach Public Library has many picture books, in both print and digital forms, about the first day of school, as experienced by everyone from Neil Gaiman’s Chu the panda to our friend Amelia Bedelia--that must be a funny day!

For more on perspective, you can check out Double Take! A New Look at Opposites.  It’s a new look in that it deals with nuance (“Who is AHEAD and who is BEHIND . . . is different for everyone standing in line”) and introduces words such as relative, assumption, and reflection (as in thinking about it).  As the boy and the elephant (and the cat tagging along) go many places and see many opposites, they realize that their point of view affects their perceptions.  

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