REVIEW: First Day At School by Rosie Smith and Illustrated by Bruce Whatley

Published: 1st January 2018 (this edition), Originally published in 2016

Publisher: Scholastic Australia Press

Pages: 32

Format: Soft Cover Picture Book

RRP: $14.99

4/5 Stars

Whether big or small, feathered or furry, the first day of school can be a lot of fun!

On my first day, I will meet new friends and learn new things … What about you?

The iconic husband and wife duo are back again with their 2016 hit My First Day At School.

With Christmas done and dusted and January in full swing, the 2019 Australian school year is fast approaching and there are likely to be many anxious kids full of wonder, hope and a dash of trepidation of what their first school day may hold for them. If this happens to be one of your children, or a friend or family member’s, then My First Day At School is the perfect book to ease their fear and lead them gently into the school year.

Featuring a cast of colourful animals My First Day At School breaks down the school day in simple, easy to understand and relate to steps. Starting with simple things like:

On my first day … I dress myself … and eat my breakfast…

Meaning that children of all ages are able to identify and relate to the characters and the story straight from the get-go.

Using simple one sentence text, that is typed in clear, bold font, Smith and Whatley are allowing the children to break down the big day in to simple bite sized notions of what they can expect the day to hold in store for them. This in turn can help to ease any anxiety and fear they may hold for the future.

Choosing a wide variety of animals as the class of students, Whatley has deliberately created an inclusive and open environment for children from all backgrounds, ages, races and abilities to relate and enter the text, making it universal for all.

While Smith’s text is straight to the point, Whatley uses hints of humour and colour to entertain and enthral his readers.

Likewise, Smith and Whatley have cleverly constructed their book to feature double page spreads featuring one block colour background. Across each spread, there is one page with one line of text printed in the centre of the page and one page of illustration where one animal is usually undertaking the task presented in the accompanying text. By giving the text itself a full page, this allows the words to take centre stage and helps in turn to teach children to read and identify words and letters in a manner they are used too.

All in all, My First Day At School is a sweet and simple picture book perfect for anxious children and parents  alike who are about to start  school for the very first time.

To learn more about Rosie Smith and  Bruce Whatley, visit the following social media sites:

Bruce Whatley’s Website

To purchase a copy of My First Day At School, visit the following online retailers:

Booktopia | Target Australia | Dymocks | QBD | Boomerang Books | Angus & Robertson


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