Clothesline Clues to the First Day of School

Clothesline Clues to the First Day of School

  • 1499

By: Kathryn Heling and Deborah Hembrook / Illustrated by: Andy Robert Davies

New clothes, new shoes, ready for school!

Spot A+ clues on the clothesline to identify all the people who make starting school so much fun! Catchy rhymes are paired with visual cues hanging from the clotheslines to introduce young readers to the people they'll encounter on the first day of school. From teacher to custodian, from crossing guard to new friends, who wears what?

Look Inside the Book:

Author & Illustrator Bios:

Kathryn Heling and Deborah Hembrook, co-authors

Kathryn Heling has always aspired to be a writer. Deborah Hembrook adores being a teacher. Together, they love creating adorable, enlightening books for children. Some fo their titles include Clothesline Clues to Jobs People Do and Clothesline Clues to Sports People Play. They both live in Wisconsin. 

Andy Robert Davies, illustrator

Andy Robert Davies is a professional illustrator and lecturer. He's illustrated Truck Stuck, Clothesline Clues to Jobs People Do, and Clothesline Clues to Sports People Play. He lives in England. 

Awards & Honors:

Coming Soon!

Editorial Reviews:

Kirkus Reviews

Following Jobs People Do (2012) and Sports People Play (2015), Heling, Hembrook, and Davies are back with another Clothesline Clues book, this time focusing on the different roles people might play in a school.As with the earlier books, a short stanza sets up the scene: "High on the clotheslines / hang clue after clue. / It's the first day of school! / Who wants to meet you?" The two spreads that follow first encourage readers to guess whose belongings are hanging on the clothesline and then reveal the answer. A coat; yellow hat, gloves, and safety vest; and a hand-held stop sign must belong to "your crossing guard." A classroom teacher's things include a button-down shirt, bow tie, sport coat, book bag, and a class roster. The other jobs include cafeteria cook, custodian, and gym and art teachers. The final clothesline holds myriad pants, shirts, dresses, scarves, coats, and backpacks that belong to the new friends anxious to meet readers. Davies' people are diverse in race and ability (several wear glasses, and one uses a wheelchair), and one girl wears hijab. Most of the adults are the opposite gender of the typical stereotype: Both the classroom teacher and the cafeteria worker are brown-skinned men, and the gym teacher and custodian are brown-skinned women. Davies' bright pencil, mixed-media, and digital illustrations feature white backgrounds to help readers focus on the clues and on the things they will notice in their own classrooms. Another solid entry.


Who will greet the children on the first day of school? On her way there, a girl passes clotheslines holding clothing and other items indicating the staff members they represent. The double-page spreads come in pairs. The first offers a set of visual clues, while four rhythmic, rhyming lines of text challenge children to guess the answer. “Raincoat and warm gloves, / a hat and stop sign, too. / Safety vest and badge. / Who wants to meet you?” A turn of the page reveals the answer, in this case, “Your crossing guard!” and an illustration showing her in action. While the verse text could be smoother, the concept works well. The simple, brightly colored, digital pictures are as cheerful as the staff and the students at this bustling elementary school. The illustrator depicts characters of diverse abilities and skin tones and avoids gender stereotypes. Like the other two entries in the Clothesline Clues series, this picture book invites audience participation. A good read-aloud choice, especially during that first week of school.

School Library Journal

What friendly faces will be encountered on a child’s first day of school? Look at the clotheslines to find out! As the title indicates, clothing and accessories hang from clotheslines throughout this book. Readers are given pages of textual and visual clues alternating with the reveal of the character described in their expected environment. For example, “Raincoat and warm gloves,/a hat and stop sign, too./Safety vest and badge./Who wants to meet you?/Your crossing guard!” Other clothesline clues reveal a teacher, cafeteria worker, custodian, gym teacher, art teacher, and new friends. The predictability and welcoming nature of each segment will help young children find comfort in the story as they are faced with the potentially nerve-wracking introduction to school. A variety of children and adults are depicted in the images, adding inclusivity and connectedness to the story that is not directly stated by the text. Every illustration gives readers the opportunity to name recognizable objects and places, enhancing the readability of this book.

Clothesline Clues to the First Day of School

Items hanging on a clothesline provide hints about the people that readers might encounter at school. The story's text takes the form of snappy stanzas: "Book bag and new shirt, / a class roster to review. / Bow tie and jacket. / Who wants to meet you?" Based on the clothesline clues, the answer to this riddle is a teacher—a smiling figure shown in a colorful classroom. The story moves forward in this manner, depicting a wide variety of school personnel, from a crossing guard to a cafeteria cook to a custodian. It concludes on a high note with a diverse group of students at play. Andy Robert Davies' vibrant, upbeat illustrations make this a title that parents and kids will appreciate as summer comes to an end. As this skill-building book shows, it takes a village to ensure that a school runs smoothly.


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ISBN: 978-1-58089-824-9

ISBN: 978-1-58089-579-8

ISBN: 978-1-63289-713-8 EPUB

ISBN: 978-1-63289-714-5 PDF

For information about purchasing E-books, click here.

Ages: 3-7
Page count: 40
9 x 9 

If you like this book, you’ll enjoy these:
Clothesline Clues to Jobs People Do
Clothesline Clues to Sports People Play