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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Birdie's First Day of School, written and illustrated by Sujean Rim. Little, Brown and Company, Hachette. 2015. $19.00 ages 4 and up

"She thought about all the
things she's heard.
From the good ...

"You will learn about

To the not-so-good ...

"I hears it's all work and
NO play."

In previous books in this lively series about an imaginative, charming little girl, Birdie has wrestled with the perils of wearing high heels, the difficulties of finding the perfect birthday party dress, and the endless choices available when wanting a stunning hew hairdo. This time she is very nervous about starting school.

Like so many others, Birdie can't sleep the night before her first day. Watching her toss and turn reminded me of many 'first days' and the feelings of anxiety as I prepared for a new group of students.

Birdie confides in her dog that she is worried, asking his thoughts on the many concerns she has -

"What will school be like?
What should I bring?
What do I WEAR?"

Poor Monster - he has nothing to offer. As she dresses, Birdie is not sure that she is ready for it. She has heard a lot, both good and bad. Who should she believe? As they walk, she lets her mom know that she is scared. As reassurance, Mom gives Birdie her necklace to wear as a reminder of her love and support.

Wonder of all wonders, that first day is perfect! It is filled with excitement, new challenges, fun with friends, and only makes her sleep hard to come by that night because of her anticipation for the second day of school.

Of her artwork for this book, Ms. Rim says:

"I always work with watercolor and collage, but this time, I also used colored pencils, inks and a brand of brushes I'm not used to."

Her textured illustrations are testament to making good choices. The single and double page spreads, and the abundance of white space keep our attention on Birdie and her friends as they move from nervous anticipation to shared joy as their day progresses. Don't miss the chalkboard endpapers!

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