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First Day Jitters
First Day Jitters
By author: Julie Danneberg   Illustrated by: Judy Love
Product Code: 
Binding Information: Hardback 
5  - 9
Grade Lowest: 
All grades
In Stock
Price: $16.95
Everyone knows that sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach just before diving into a new situation. Sarah Jane Hartwell is scared and doesn't want to start over at a new school. She doesn't know anybody, and nobody knows her. It will be awful. She just knows it. With much prodding from Mr. Hartwell, Sarah Jane reluctantly pulls herself together and goes to school. She is quickly befriended by Mrs. Burton, who helps smooth her jittery transition. This charming and familiar story will delight readers with its surprise ending.

Fun, energetic illustrations brighten page after page with the busy antics surrounding Sarah Jane. First Day Jitters is an enchanting story that is sure to be treasured by anyone who has every anticipated a first day of school.

                        We hope we can count on your support next year!

Click here to read stories and view photos from the first day of school around the country.

Click here for tips on how to beat the jitters on the first day of school.
Click here for activities to make the first day of school a great day.
Click here to download a poster for your classroom.

If you like this book, you'll like:
  • Back to School
  • Can I Bring My Pterodactyl to School, Ms. Johnson?
  • First Year Letters
  • Going to School in India
  • Last Day Blues
  • Que Nervios!

  • Also Available As:
    Binding Information: Paperback 
    ISBN: 978-1-58089-061-8
    Availability: In Stock
    Price: $6.95

  • 2001 Storytelling World Award
  • Children's Books Mean Business
  • Colorado Children's Book Award Nominee
  • PW Bestseller list

  • Reviews
      The Horn Book - January 31, 2000
    In spite of Mr. Hartwell's entreaties, Sarah Jane Hartwell does not want to start her first day in a new school. Like all newcomers, she worries about having to begin again and wonders if there will be nice children in her class. But the ending reveals that Sarah is not a new student--she's the teacher! Lively line and watercolor illustrations bring Sarah's plight to life.
      Booklist - March 31, 2000
    Every child who has moved to a new school or is simply reluctant to start a school year can identify with this wittily drawn and suspensefully told story. From the moment she awakens on the fateful day to the moment she steps into the classroom, Sarah Hartwell imagines the worst. Love's ink-and-watercolor illustrations add humor to Sarah's fears, which range from bratty kids to a police search when she doesn't show up. Mr. Hartwell's reassurances don't seem to be much help. The pictures mirror the jangled nerves and outsize expectations (the double-page spread of a looming, prisonlike school is priceless) everyone faces when they are new, all of which leads to a nifty surprise ending that is a delight. Funny and insightful.
      School Library Journal - May 31, 2000
    Sarah is hiding under her covers as Mr. Hartwell asks, "You don't want to miss the first day at your new school do you?" From under the blanket she replies, "I'm not going." When he reminds her how much she liked her other school and asks her to think of all the new friends she'll meet, she imagines a classroom where a paper airplane is flying, a boy is pulling his neighbor's pigtail, and another is blowing a gigantic bubble. Mr. Hartwell finally gets Sarah to stumble out of bed, eat a bit of toast, and get into the car where she slumps down into her seat. At school, the principal cheerfully welcomes her and takes her to the classroom where she is introduced as "Mrs. Sarah Jane Hartwell," the new teacher. There is a bit of foreshadowing that Sarah is an adult, but as she is always partially hidden, the ending will come as a surprise to most readers. The ink-and-watercolor illustrations are full of action and maintain the lighthearted tone. A little subplot in the paintings shows the family cat and dog having their own contest of wills while their owner is trying to get his wife up and out. The joke provides a good laugh and children may find it reassuring that they are not alone in their anxieties about new situations.
      Education World - September 30, 2000
    It's the first day at a new school, and Sarah Jane Hartwell is filled with doom. Despite all of Mr. Hartwell's efforts to help her look on the bright side, Sarah imagines the worst: She liked her old school. She doesn't know anyone at the new school. She pictures the new children as noisy, disobedient brats.

    First Day Jitters, by Julie Danneberg, is a wonderful book for anyone who has faced--or is about to face--the beginning of a new situation. Danneburg follows Sarah through her early morning on the first day at her new school. From the moment she pulls her blankets over her head and refuses to get out of bed to the moment Mr. Hartwell drops her off in front of the new school, the reader is aware of, and sympathetic with, Sarah's fears.

    Illustrator Judy Love's somewhat tongue-in-cheek pen and watercolor pictures contribute to the book's humor. Many of the pictures, such as one showing Sarah trying to keep up with the new principal while moving through hallways of excited, jostling children, show Sarah's point of view.

    Other pictures that depict Sarah avoid showing what Sarah actually looks like--until the surprise ending.

    First Day Jitters is a fun, clever story that will help ease children's fears about starting over as well as validate their feelings by showing them that anyone can be afraid of new, unknown situations.
      Newsweek - December 31, 2000
    First Day Jitters which was written by Julie Danneberg and illustrated by Judy Love, makes a great companion book to "Wemberly Worried." In the opening pages, we meet a certain Sarah Jane Hartwell, who's in the midst of her own first-day-of-school-related panic attack. Sarah Jane is buried under her covers so far that you can't even see her face. In fact, you have no idea what she looks like until the very last page of the whimsical book, which suddenly delivers a sly and funny twist: Sarah Jane's the teacher.
      School Library Journal - July 31, 2004
    Sarah Jane Hartwell is so nervous about her first day of school that she doesn't want to get out of bed or eat breakfast. She is so worried that she tries to hide in the car until the principal sees her and takes her inside to meet her class. Students will be delighted with the surprise ending when Sarah's true identity is revealed, proving that just about everyone has first-day jitters when it comes to starting school. Ink-and-watercolor drawings effectively portray Sarah's nervous energy.