Peanut Butter's First Day of School by Terry Border, 32 pp, RL 1.5

Peanut Butter's First Day of School 
Review Copy from Penguin Young Readers
Story: Peanut Butter is worried about the first day of school, so his mother wisely suggests he practice the walk to school to assuage his fears. On the way, he passes friends like Cupcake, Egg and Soup and asks for advice, none of which seems right. Passing the park, he sees Jelly, who invites him to join a game of soccer. Feeling calmer, he heads home, then off to school the next day where he meets new friends and does new things. He even visits the library and picks out a new book! At the end of the day, new and old friends decide to walk home together as a group. A food group...
Illustrations: Border is brilliant in all of his books. From the foods that he chooses, to the settings he constructs for them to live out their lives in to the expressive wire limbs, I find his books totally engaging. Then again, I am drawn to all books about food... He is clever and creative, as in Happy Birthday, Cupcake!, when Cupcake and Muffin try to plan the perfect party. A beach party is out because of friends who melt. A makeover party is out because Hamburger probably won't want frosting and sprinkles. As the two imagine these parties, Border brings them to life on the page with great fun. I have yet to tire of his books, despite the same foods and characters over and over, he brings something new to the story every time, which is a delight.
Why Read? Why Buy?All joking aside, and Border has a FANTASTIC sense of humor, Peanut Butter's First Day of School is SUCH a sweet book. Border simply and meaningfully gets the emotions of doing something new on the page in a way that young (and old) readers will recognize. The kindness of Peanut Butter, his old friends and the new friends he makes at school is deeply comforting - much like a really good PB&J on soft white bread. Delicious and better for you than an cupcake. To this, add the beautiful possibility that a kindergartener or first grader might be able to read this on her/his own, and it's a win-win. Best of all, regardless of the day of the year, this book will stand out on the shelf and attract readers, which is sometimes a challenge in the field of leveled readers!


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