Synopsis (from the publisher):
Everyone knows that sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach just before diving into a new situation. Sarah Jane Hartwell is scared and doesn't want to start over at a new school. She doesn't know anybody, and nobody knows her. It will be awful. She just knows it. With much prodding from Mr. Hartwell, Sarah Jane reluctantly pulls herself together and goes to school. She is quickly befriended by Mrs. Burton, who helps smooth her jittery transition. This charming and familiar story will delight readers with its surprise ending. Fun, energetic illustrations brighten page after page with the busy antics surrounding Sarah Jane. First Day Jitters is an enchanting story that is sure to be treasured by anyone who has every anticipated a first day of school.
My Rating: 5/5
The kids in my house are starting at a new school in September, one in 1st grade and the other in 4th. Of course, there's some nervousness, so I was really glad to come across FIRST DAY JITTERS on a recent trip to our local bookstore. I rushed home to read it to my soon-to-be 6 y.o. niece. She insisted we read it three more times immediately, and we've read it several times since. Even with it's "surprise" ending, this story doesn't wear thin on multiple readings. Tonight it was my nephew's turn. He'll soon be 9 but still enjoys a good picture book now and then, and I thought he would appreciate knowing that other people are also nervous about starting in a new school. He laughed out loud and ran off with it to read to his father. So it's safe to say that FIRST DAY JITTERS is a big hit at our house.
Judy Love's illustrations are bright, colorful, and full of action and humor. My niece and I spent some extra time looking at several of them, discussing what was happening in the picture and putting events into chronological order. (I understand that's a good exercise for early readers.)
I would recommend this book for any young child starting school for the first time, but particularly for those who will be transferring to a new school.
A CAVEAT: I'm not going to spoil the surprise, but some descriptions of the story do reveal the ending, so use caution if you go looking for this book online.
Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc. publishes books for children up to around 12 years of age. They have a great website, and books are cross-listed by reading level, subject, and category. There are several books in Spanish as well as many reflecting American and global diversity. The site also has quite a few downloadables and activities. There's also a feature where they recommend a children's title to complement a recent release that a parent might be reading. If you're not already familiar with Charlesbridge, it's a great site for educators and parents looking for educational resources as well as being chock full of interesting fiction and nonfiction for kids.