Friday, December 22, 2017

First Day by Margaret Wild illustrated by Kim Gamble

In the style of Clive Eats Alligators (an old favourite of mine) in First Day we meet six kids getting ready for their first day of school.  Alex's mum is also starting school and Josh the dog has plans for his day too.

On the morning of the big day Salma, Khalil, Jun, Stephen, Penny and Alex make lunches, tie on shoes, practice their counting and get dressed.  Right from the start these routines reveal important details about each child. Penny is a live wire she cannot keep still. Stephen is a worrier will he wet his pants? Salma is a confident independent girl from a large family.  Khalil loves to tie shoelaces and Jun "can't wait to learn how to count to one hundred and ten. Then a thousand, then a million, then a billion, then a trillion!"

As the day progresses the children travel to school in various ways, meet their teacher Mrs Manoli and experience their classroom routines.   On each page Kim Gamble shows happy children at play learning inside and outside.  One cute idea is the way each page number has a symbol for example on page 5 when everyone is preparing for school there is a camera.

Margaret Wild is a master story teller and I appreciate the way she uses 'big words' such as sympathetic, gazes, vanishes, impressed and hurtling.  I also appreciate the patience of Mrs Manoli - this is sure to be a great year for all of these children even for the very bouncy Penny.

This is an older book published in 1998. I am reading some of our Australian IBBY Honour books from past years right now in preparation for an exciting event to be held in Canberra in October 2018.  The IBBY Honour book citation for First Day says : A gentle book that deals with this all-important occasion with perception and skill.

You will find some more starting school books on this list.

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