Thursday, August 2, 2018

First Day Jitters (Mrs. Hartwells classroom adventures) Paperback – February 1, 2000 by Julie Danneberg (Author), Judy Love (Illustrator)(Charlesbridge )

I really like this book and read it every year on the first day of school to my second grade classes! It's a great way to start a class discussion and make the kids feel comfortable and that it's normal to be nervous on the first day. We share how each of us felt that first day and things we were nervous about like not knowing anyone. The story is about Sarah Jane Hartwell who starts the book in bed with the pillow over her head telling who we think is her father that she doesn't want to go and start over and that she's worried no one will like her. She finally gets out of bed and dressed and tries to hide in the car slouched down when the principal comes over and says they were wondering where she was and that she'd walk her to class since she's new. The book has a surprise ending when we find out that Sarah is the TEACHER and nervous about starting at a new school with a new class.

I bought this in my first year of teaching and it summed up how I was feeling and of course as most teachers are, I get nervous on the first day even though I've been teaching for years. The kids in class always love knowing that even teachers get nervous about the new school year and students - it makes teachers seem more human and relateable to the kids, which I really like.

I'm giving this 4 stars because the illustrations are HIDEOUS. The colors are fine and so are the background details, but the illustrations make the people's faces look distorted, exaggerated, and frightening. I also didn't like that the teacher says she'll "hate" her new school several times - I don't think that's the best choice of words so I replace that word when I read it aloud each year.

Overall, this is a great book to start the school year with!

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