The First Week of School

S. & S./Atheneum. Jun. 2024. 48p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781665940429.
Gr 2-4–This book begins on the first day of the first week of school. The kids are perhaps in third or fourth grade, so they have been through this before. Some of the kids are nervous, some are excited to be back, some feel inadequate. The teacher has eight cups of coffee before lunch. Just a normal first week. But when Pat, the class’s pet bearded dragon, pushes a button on a science project, an alien visitor is summoned to the school. The alien is blue, one-eyed, and tentacled. The text calls him Nobody. Nobody changes everything. Each page or spread is a different day or a different class. Monday: Show and Tell. Thursday: PE. Readers can follow the students as they navigate the week. The artist is newly insecure about her artwork. The students who call themselves “the sport kings” don’t listen to the teacher and get electrocuted (humorously). The teacher forgets her lunch and eats an old box of cereal she finds in a cabinet. Even the bearded dragon, who likes the noises that “humans shoot out of their head holes,” has its own plotline. When Nobody, the alien, arrives, people can see it, but no one ever acknowledges its alien appearance. Nobody is just another new kid. The text is clear and concise, allowing the myriad characters space to breathe and grow. The school is vibrant and full of life. Beckmeyer creates detailed images in crayon. His talent for storytelling, illustration, and formatting coalesces into a tale that readers can experience again and again, as if they’re anticipating (or reliving) their very own first weeks of school.
VERDICT Captures both the magic and the mundanity of the first week of school. Must purchase.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing