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Overview

It's the first day of first grade! Gilbert is looking forward to learning how to read and making new friends, but . . .

Will the teacher be nice?
Will first grade be too hard?
Will he like his classmates?
Will they like him?

Gilbert is excited and nervous at the same ...

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Overview

It's the first day of first grade! Gilbert is looking forward to learning how to read and making new friends, but . . .

Will the teacher be nice?
Will first grade be too hard?
Will he like his classmates?
Will they like him?

Gilbert is excited and nervous at the same time!

Gilbert's excitement over starting first grade turns to worry that the teacher will be mean, the work too hard, and his classmates too unfriendly, but throughout the day there are pleasant surprises.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this prequel to deGroat's series of Gilbert tales (Happy Birthday to You, You Belong in a Zoo), the earnest young opossum survives-quite easily-his first day of first grade. As in the earlier stories, the author convincingly exposes her hero's emotions, which here are in tune with those experienced by any fledgling first grader. Gilbert is fearful that his teacher won't be nice and, in the classroom, he is embarrassed when he sits at the wrong desk and, at lunch, is afraid that he'll get sent to the principal if he doesn't eat his food. The narrative incorporates some equally true-to-life incidents that would comfort a new student (e.g., sitting by himself in the cafeteria, Gilbert is finally joined by a boy who has "the exact same Martian Space Pilot lunchbox" as he does). And deGroat reassuringly reveals that nobody is good at everything (Philip can read but can't climb a ladder at recess, and Lewis, a good climber, clumsily spills paint on his desk). Perhaps due to its lower-key setting (other capers have Halloween and Valentine's Day themes), this has less spark and wit than some of its predecessors. DeGroat's cheerful art serves up endearing portraits of Gilbert, though several of the busier scenes appear curiously washed out. Ages 4-8. (July) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The night before he begins first grade, Gilbert reassures his little sister, Lola, that preschool is fun and Mrs. Duck is nice, but he is not so certain about his own situation. The next morning he walks to school with his friend, Patti, and they wonder if their new teacher and the principal will be nice. Gilbert notices many differences between his kindergarten and the first-grade classroom: one of the boys can already read, Patti seems to have found a new friend already, and Gilbert finds himself sitting alone in the cafeteria. De Groat's text quietly reassures children that all will be well. She manages to assuage the normal fears of this new situation and at the same time creates interest and excitement over making new friends and new discoveries in the classroom. Her animal characters display individual personalities and perfectly convey a multicultural classroom. This is considered a prequel to the other books featuring Gilbert and is a good addition to the back-to-school books. 2005, HarperCollins, and Ages 4 to 7.
—Sharon Salluzzo
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-Gilbert, a hedgehog, is excited but fearful about starting first grade. He walks to school with his friend, Patti, who is quickly drawn to another female student. As the teacher passes out the spelling and reading books, Gilbert decides that, "-first grade was going to be hard!" Besides, there are so many rules to remember. At lunchtime, he sits alone, but Mrs. Byrd puts Frank, a raccoon, next to him, and the two boys find that they have a lot in common. As the students pursue various activities, Gilbert discovers that they all have their own talents, and that no one is good at everything. On the way home, Gilbert and Patti agree that Mrs. Byrd is nice and that they have both made new friends, although Patti reassures Gilbert that he is still her friend. With its charming, detailed watercolor illustrations, this story has significant child appeal. Youngsters entering kindergarten or first grade would enjoy listening to it and perusing the realistically styled pictures either one-on-one or in a group. A useful addition, but not a first purchase.-Lynda Ritterman, Atco Elementary School, Waterford, NJ Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
DeGroat ably threads her way through some well-trod ground: the first day of school. Gilbert, our favorite opossum, has a classic case of the willies as he sets out on his first day of school: Will the teacher be nice, will he be able to do the work, will he make friends? Luckily, he already has one good friend, but then there are all those other unfamiliar faces, one belonging to the loud, bullying Lewis. Then the school day gradually begins to fall into place and Gilbert finds a comfortable niche therein: a new friend, an enjoyable playground, a book to read that is a pleasing challenge. He also learns that Mr. Pug, the principal, isn't grumpy. Pugs just always look grumpy. DeGroat's watercolors-with their easygoing charm -evolve from expectant to relaxed as the kids find what first-graders have always found: School rarely meets their dire predictions, and even kids like Lewis have their time-honored place. (Picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060726164
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/26/2007
  • Series: Gilbert and Friends Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 71,666
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.80 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Diane deGroat

Diane deGroat is the illustrator of more than 120 children's books and the author-illustrator of bestselling books about Gilbert, including Ants in Your Pants, Worms in Your Plants! (Gilbert Goes Green); April Fool! Watch Out at School!; Mother, You're the Best! (But Sister, You're a Pest!); Last One in Is a Rotten Egg!; and the New York Times bestseller Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink. Diane lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Diane deGroat is the illustrator of more than 120 children's books and the author-illustrator of bestselling books about Gilbert, including Ants in Your Pants, Worms in Your Plants! (Gilbert Goes Green); April Fool! Watch Out at School!; Mother, You're the Best! (But Sister, You're a Pest!); Last One in Is a Rotten Egg!; and the New York Times bestseller Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink. Diane lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.

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