Every so often, a book comes along with a premise so perfect, it’s hard to believe it hasn’t been done before; this is one of those books. As a new school year begins, it isn’t just the students who have trepidations: the building doesn’t quite know what to expect either, and overheard comments such as “I don’t like school” aren’t helping. “Maybe it doesn’t like you either,” thinks the school in response. But even amid lunchtime spills and an embarrassing fire drill “accident,” the school comes to understand that facilitating the noisy, messy activities of the school day are quite literally what he was made to do. Robinson (Last Stop on Market Street) gives the school just a hint of visual personification in his flattened, paint-and-collage artwork, as Rex (Moonday) deftly juggles well-placed jokes and keen insights into feeling comfortable in one’s own skin—or bricks, as the case may be. Ages 4–8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (June)
Recipient of 7 starred reviews!
"Robinson (Last Stop on Market Street) gives the school just a hint of visual personification in his flattened, paint-and-collage artwork, as Rex (Moonday) deftly juggles well-placed jokes and keen insights into feeling comfortable in one’s own skinor bricks, as the case may be."Publishers Weekly, starred
"Using his signature, simple style, Robinson alternates scenes of the building and its interiors with shots that show the boisterously diverse kids' first day.A unique point of view makes this school book stand out."Kirkus Reviews, starred
"Sure to become a staple for first days of school everywhere."Horn Book, starred
"This charming reversal of first-day-of-school nerves will delight little ones and help put their own anxieties at bay."Booklist, starred
"An essential purchase that is simultaneously funny, frank, and soothing. A perfect first day read-aloud." School Library Journal, starred
"A delightful, perspective-tweaking back-to-school picture book."Shelf Awareness, starred
"Anthropomorphization of the whole building is a new and promising approach for school-shy youngsters, and it’ll make the already school-positive want to give their beloved building a hug."Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred
PreS-Gr 1—Newly constructed Frederick Douglass Elementary is preparing to open his doors. He's a bit anxious and wonders if he'll pass the biggest test of all and win the approval of the swarms of kids who arrive as the school year begins. Rex's warm, funny, and emotionally resonant text is superbly complemented by Robinson's engaging and vivacious collage artwork. A clever and playful look at first-day jitters.
Rex offers a different perspective on the first day of school: that of the newly constructed school building itself.Robinson's illustrations of Frederick Douglass Elementary are anthropomorphized only from the front and side views (two doors with a window "eye" in each, the two handles making a nose, and mouthlike stairs). Throughout the book, though, the text relays the conversations the school has with Janitor as well as its often funny thoughts and feelings. The brand-new school isn't so sure that he will enjoy having children inside its walls learning and playing. Once they are there, the school is shocked by a few of the older kids who remark "This place stinks," and "I hate school." And when one little freckled girl has to be carried in by her mother, he thinks, "I must be awful." He's embarrassed by his fire alarm and doesn't like having milk snorted on him. But he enjoys learning about shapes with the kindergarten kids, and he likes the change he sees coming over the freckled girl. In fact, he has so much fun on the first day that he asks Janitor to invite all the kids back again tomorrow. "I'll see what I can do," says the laconic black man. Using his signature, simple style, Robinson alternates scenes of the building and its interiors with shots that show the boisterously diverse kids' first day.A unique point of view makes this school book stand out. (Picture book. 4-8)