“I remember and I’ll always treasure Schooldays were the happiest days of your life But we never appreciate the good times we have Until it’s too late I miss all the acquaintances we made And I’d go back if I could find a way” -- The Kinks “Schooldays” (1975)
“‘This is nice,’ the school said to Janitor. ‘Just the two of us.’ “‘Won’t be just us for long,’ said Janitor. ‘Soon the teachers will come, and then you’ll be filled with children.’ “The school creaked. ‘Children?’ “‘All kinds of children. They’ll come to play games and learn.’ “‘Oh,’ said the school,’ will you be here?’ “‘You’ll see me after the school day is over,’ said Janitor. ‘Don’t worry--you’ll like the children.’ “But the school thought that Janitor was probably wrong about that. “Then they came, the children did, and there were more of them than the school could possibly have imagined.”
One day, in the springtime, my mother drove her ‘52 Buick Roadmaster to my nursery school, picked me up, and brought me to a kindergarten orientation at Fern Place School.
After seven or eight months of the comforting routine of nursery school, I was unnerved by the jarring notion that I’d soon be spending my days sitting still, in chairs, in a sprawling, multi-story, brick building. Fifty-six years later, I still recall the waves of anxiety I experienced after my mother dropped me back off at nursery school and I began panicking about my future. When you’re a first born, with no siblings to show you the ropes, the threat of change can be pretty traumatic.
I’m in love with SCHOOL’S FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, in which we see the first day of school from the nervous school building’s perspective. It’s the perfect book for anxious first borns and anyone else who can relate to the “ small girl with freckles” character, who is so reluctant that her work-attired mother has to carry her into the school.
Over the course of that first day, the freckled kindergartner finds camaraderie, a supportive teacher, and self-satisfaction for work done well. The charm of the story is that it is told from the point of view of the anxious school building who is also experiencing first day jitters.
I got a kick out of the older kid who has told his friends that he hates school becoming the victim of a nifty little prank by the school (who then expresses a bit of remorse). In the manner that a child would tell his or her parent about the first day, the school gets to recount his first day for Janitor, and then asks Janitor to get the kids back again tomorrow.
The book’s cast of young students includes a breadth of skin tones and attire, as well as a girl in a wheelchair. We see children arriving via school bus; others bike, skateboard, walk alone, or are accompanied by a parent.
SCHOOL’S FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL is the best get-ready-for-kindergarten book I’ ve read. It’s sure to become a favorite.
Richie Partington, MLIS, California USA
See more of his recommendations: Richie's Picks (http://richiespicks.com/)