First Day Jitters written by Julie Danneberg and illustrated Judy Love, is a great niche book for that first day back to school in September, perfect for any grade level. Miss Sarah Jane Hartwell does not want to go to her new school. She’d rather stay in bed under the covers when the clock strikes 6 am, but her father insists she face the music. With a piece of toast and a lunchbox in her hand, Sarah’s father drives her to school where she is met by the principal, Mrs Burton who introduces her to the rest of the class. There is a surprise ending which will make you chuckle.
There is not a lot of text but the book is full of Norman Rockwellesque illustrations. We don’t get to see Sarah’s face until the last page, but we empathize with her emotions in facing a new experience. “The teachers will hate me”, “The kids won’t like me”, “I won’t fit in”, “They’ll laugh at me” – who doesn’t have doubts that first day? Kids will easily relate to Sarah and her angst. In addition, they will love the humorous Illustrations, full of the delightful faces of children reflecting a school full of diversity, including a black principal. The antics of Sarah’s pets, a cat and dog, add to the fun.
This book will make a wonderful icebreaker for a teacher to read to her class as they begin the school year. Four stars and a Thank you to Netgalley and Charlesbridge for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review.