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Happy School Year!
     

Happy School Year!

by Susan Milord, Mary Newell DePalma (Illustrator)
 

The first day of school has never been so exciting as in this simple, subtle, warm and welcoming story of six frightened children finding connection at school.

All over town, children are waking up . . . choosing clothes . . . eating breakfast . . . getting ready for the first day of school!
But for six kids, the day is more scary than special -- it's cause

Overview

The first day of school has never been so exciting as in this simple, subtle, warm and welcoming story of six frightened children finding connection at school.

All over town, children are waking up . . . choosing clothes . . . eating breakfast . . . getting ready for the first day of school!
But for six kids, the day is more scary than special -- it's cause for hiding under the covers rather than leaping out of bed. It's only after they arrive at school and discover the wonderful surprise waiting there that they know: It's going to be a HAPPY SCHOOL YEAR!

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
Stories written to illustrate an idea or teach a lesson often fail for lack of believable characters or a compelling plot. This picture book aims to acquaint readers with First Day of School celebrations, a movement that originated in Vermont, but by now has spread much farther. The story dramatizes fears that, for many reasons, beset children on the brink of a new experience and suggests a way to ease the transition to school. (Such an initiative, however, would surely come from parents and administrators, not from kids.) Set in a small but multiracial town, the narrative tracks six anonymous children anxious about their first day, following them from morning wakeup to settling into their new classroom. DePalma's bright acrylic illustrations, while not strictly realistic, capture in facial expressions and bodily positions the evolving emotions of her characters and gradually draw readers into their world. (Young listeners may even want to give them names and identify siblings and parents.) The school celebration, complete with cupcakes, wishes, and cheers, breaks down barriers between home and school, strangers and friends, thus making all students comfortable and welcome. Who is this story's intended audience? Is it meant as an incentive for community and school officials or as reassurance for worried kids? Maybe both—while a final page provides information about the First Day Foundation for adults, DePalma's appealing illustrations make these six children come alive for the youngest readers, who might enjoy extending the characters' hopes and dreams with spontaneous drama or written stories. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
School Library Journal

PreS-K- There are many picture books about the first day of school, and this one, though pleasant enough, adds nothing new to the topic. The story follows a variety of generic children from different ethnic and family backgrounds as they wake up and get ready for the big day. Some are eager while others are apprehensive. Finally, the students and parents assemble in "an enormous room" surrounded by caring teachers and staff and wish one another a "Happy School Year." The text is simple and the pacing is a little slow. Milord spends eight pages before she even announces that it is the first day of school. The book mentions some common concerns, but they magically float away when the principal delivers her welcome. DePalma's simple acrylic cartoon illustrations match the tepid, nonthreatening tone of the text. Pastel colors and smiley faces abound. This book might help soothe an individual child who is apprehensive about the first day of school, but it does not have enough story or humor to hold the attention of a group. Try Katie Davis's Kindergarten Rocks (Harcourt, 2005) for a good read-aloud.-Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT

Kirkus Reviews
A first-day-of-school celebration featuring cupcakes and a group cheer led by a smiling principal concludes this sunny account. "All over town, children are waking up." They follow their varied morning routines then make their way, some with excitement, some with trepidation, in a matter-of-factly reassuring present-tense narrative. DePalma's illustrations depict a recurring, multiethnic cast of children with a range of emotions; in one jarringly false note, one blond little girl sports bizarrely large blue eyes, in dramatic and unfortunate contrast to the others' more subdued dots. Includes an author's note on First Day celebrations. (Picture book. 4-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780439882804
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
07/01/2008
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
7.80(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
AD740L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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