Review Blog

Dec 01 2017

First day by Margaret Wild

cover image

Ill. by Kim Gamble. Allen and Unwin, 2017. ISBN 9781760293918
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: First day at school, School, Friendship, Family. First published in 1998, this welcome reprint will resonate with all readers, those about to being school as well as those who recall the butterflies in their stomach of their first day be it last week or fifty years ago. The warmth of the story is embedded in the showcasing of several families as they prepare for their first day. Each child is introduced while doing something in preparation for their day: Salma makes her lunch, Khalil puts on his shoes and ties his laces, Jun is practising his counting, Stephen practises his name and phone number, Penny poses for a photo to be taken by dad, Alex does up her buttons, while Alex's mum wonders if the others at her new school will laugh at her. Each has learnt something in the lead up to growing older, and each has some concern about what will happen. Some are concerned about finding friends, while one is worried about going to the toilet. The story follows each as they make their way to school on the bus, in the car, walking with mum or dad. At school there are routines to be followed and things to learn about fitting into the way things happen. Each is shown with warmth and children reading will learn about these systems without being aware of it.
The wonderfully soft and witty water colour illustrations by Gamble suit the mood of the story beautifully, reflecting the diversity inherent in the tale, inviting the reader to identify with the range of children on the pages, and look at the range of adventures offered in the new school.
The witty parallel between the children and Alex's mum, all beginning school on the same day will further endear the readers to this lovely tale.
The book is divided into seven sections, Before school, Going to school, Starting school, In the morning, During lunch, In the afternoon and Home time, making it easier for younger readers. A charming tale for novice school goers of all ages.
Fran Knight

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