Monday, August 23, 2010

Review: First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg; illus. Judith Dufour Love

Synopsis:

Sarah Jane is worried about going to a new school. She refuses to get out of bed because she keeps imagining all the bad things that can happen. Readers will understand and sympathize with Sarah's feelings and laugh when they discover the surprise ending to this delightful story.


The Elliott Review:

Up to this point, I've really only reviewed young adult fiction with a few adult books thrown in. Now, as the school year progresses, I am going to include the picture books I use as I teach my students writing. I teach seventh graders, but we still use the books to focus our writing and charge the imagination. You would be surprised how much middle schoolers love being read to.

This book really is a delight. It is great for reading aloud, and the students really are surprised by the ending. In fact, some younger students might need the surprise explained for them. I know that some of my students were shocked at the end of the book when it's discovered that Sarah Jane is really a teacher who doesn't want to go to school.

This is a good way to deal with the anxious feelings that students may experience at the beginning of the year - letting them know that anxiety and having "the jitters" is a human thing that is okay. The book gives the feeling that, ultimately, everything is going to be all right.

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