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What Did You Do Today?: The First Day of School

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There’s a lot to do on the first day of school: meet new friends, practice writing, eat lunch, and run around. But it’s not only children who do these things—parents do, too. This charming story follows the day of a young boy and his working mother. Even though they’re in different places, the soft, lively illustrations show that they’re never far from each other’s thoughts. And when it’s time to go home, they’ll both be ready for a hug and eager to ask, “What did you do today?”...

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Overview

There’s a lot to do on the first day of school: meet new friends, practice writing, eat lunch, and run around. But it’s not only children who do these things—parents do, too. This charming story follows the day of a young boy and his working mother. Even though they’re in different places, the soft, lively illustrations show that they’re never far from each other’s thoughts. And when it’s time to go home, they’ll both be ready for a hug and eager to ask, “What did you do today?”

A child describes the events of the first day of school, from making sandwiches for lunch to holding a parent's hand on the walk home.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A unique twist on a familiar theme...lively watercolor illustrations...Anxious first-timers...will find Forward's comforting tale vastly reassuring." KIRKUS Kirkus Reviews
Children's Literature
From Britain comes this charming, slightly different take on the "first day of school" books. A working mother sees her little boy off to his first day, with opposite pages showing the boy's school day and his mother's work day at identical times. After packing their lunches together at home, they hug goodbye, greet friends at school and work, have snacks, do a lot of running around, and get sleepy after lunch. Whether it is working hard at writing, sharing a story with friends or cleaning up at the end of the day, the simple descriptive statements on each page ("With all the things we'd done, there was quite a mess to clean up!") can apply to either mother or son. As they greet each other joyously at the school's gate and start happily down the street, they smile at each other and say, "I held your hand all the way home. What did you do today?" Thompson's watercolors are delightfully appropriate, filled with linked details of the boy's crowded school day and curly-haired Mom's busy day at work. It is easy to imagine a parent and child looking at this picture book together, reliving some of their first-day activities and realizing they were thinking about each other all day. It is a good addition to any collection of stories about this important day in a child's life as well as a reminder that kids and books from other countries have much to tell us about experiences and emotions we all share. 2004, Clarion, Ages 4 to 6.
—Barbara L. Talcroft
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-Told from a child's point of view, this story is sure to quell those first-day-of-school jitters. Though mother and son are apart for the day, they are never far from one another's thoughts. Spreads feature the child's activities on the left page and his mother's comparable work routine on the right. From enjoying a morning snack to listening to stories, eating lunch, and getting ready to go home at day's end, their movements are similar. Every now and then a thought bubble of the loved one's smiling face appears. Each page contains at least one central watercolor framed on a pastel-colored background and surrounded by items featured in the picture. For example, "I sat down and tried hard to do my very best writing" reveals the child (pencil in mouth) concentrating at perfecting his letters while his mother (pencil in mouth) is shown "writing" on a computer. Each of these illustrations is surrounded by the alphabet; the boy's letters are printed and the mother's are typed in a computer font. The charming artwork shows the happy camaraderie in both the multicultural classroom and workplace. This day-in-the-life tale is a delightful introduction to the school experience and dispels the mystery of what a working parent does all day.-Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Forward offers a unique twist on a familiar theme: the first day of school. Brief sentences describe the time in which a mother and her son are apart, from drop-off to pick-up. Young readers will recognize the familiar rhythms of their own days in the child's narrative, which includes circle time, snack, and active play. Although the protagonist's voice seems to be that of the young boy, the generalized descriptions work to incorporate the day's activities of mom as well. The layout further supports this, as do Thompson's lively watercolor illustrations. Each spread represents one facet of the child's day. Above the text is an illustration depicting the child engaged in the activity described, while the facing page slyly reveals his mom engaged in a parallel, adult version. Thought bubbles pepper the illustrations, showing that the two are often thinking of each other during their day. Anxious first-timers, of both the youngster and grown-up variety, will find Forward's comforting tale vastly reassuring. (Picture book. 4-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618495863
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 8/23/2004
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.30 (w) x 10.04 (h) x 0.31 (d)

Meet the Author

KERRY ARQUETTE is a talented new author; What Did You Do Today? is her first children’s book. She lives in Aruada, Colorado.

NANCY HAYASHI is the illustrator of My Two Grandmothers by Effin Older and Bunny Bungalow by Cynthia Rylant. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

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