With the first day of school come many emotions: excitement, enthusiasm, fear of the unknown.
And that's just what the teachers go through.
In the new book, "Mr. Ouchy's First Day" (Putnam, $15.99, ages 5 and up), students experience jitters from a teacher's perspective. He too wonders if he'll find his classroom, if he should wear his lucky blue shirt and if the kids will tease him about his name. (He does, he does and they do.)
But each time Mr. Ouchy looks up at that oversized white-and-black clock that seems to be in every classroom in the country, he realizes that things are falling into place and he looks forward to the next day.
This picture book by B.G. Hennessy and illustrated by Paul Meisel is one of many set in schools that aim to make the transition back to school a little smoother:
-"Vera's New School" (Henry Holt, $16.95, ages 4-8) by Vera Rosenberry.
It's hard to be the new girl - especially when the teacher even calls you "the new girl" instead of your name. It's even harder when you're stuck in a classroom with some rather nasty kids.
But not everyone or everything can be all bad, as Vera learns as the day moves along.
-"Totally Wonderful Miss Plumberry" (Candlewick, $15.99, ages 4-7) by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Chinlun Lee.
Molly brings a special crystal to school to show off to her friends. Her friends are impressed at first but they quickly move on to a bigger, flashier show-and-tell item.
Teacher Miss Plumberry senses Molly is sad to be left in the dust, so by having Molly share with her classmates the story of the crystal, she gets back their attention.
-"Dear Mr. Rosenwald" (Scholastic, $16.99, ages 7-10) by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie.
This is based on the true story of the schools built in black communities in the 1920s and '30s using donations from Julius Rosenwald, then president of Sears, Roebuck and Co.
It's told through the eyes of Ovella, the daughter of a sharecropper who yearns to learn. She watches her church pass around a collection plate to help raise the funds for the school's land. She's surprised when white neighbors also sent in $20 bills.
She is beside herself with excitement when she sees the blueprints for the building - so much different than her one-room schoolhouse.
When the school is done, Ovella's first lesson is letter writing and she pens her first one to Mr. Rosenwald to thank him for helping to make it all possible.
-"Teacher's Pets" (Candlewick, $15.99, ages 5 and up) by Dayle Ann Dodd and illustrated by Marilyn Hafner.
When children in Miss Fry's class bring in their pets for show and tell, they seem to have a habit of leaving the critters behind. Miss Fry is fine with that - as long as the kids take their pets home at the end of the year.
But when her request is fulfilled, she finds herself lonely. And then she finds the little guy who stayed behind to become the teacher's pet.
-"Miss Malarkey Leaves No Reader Behind" (Walker, $16.95, ages 5-8) by Judy Finchler and Kevin O'Malley, who also is the illustrator.
Getting kids to read is great - and that's what principal Wiggins does when he makes outlandish promises to his student body if they'll read 1,000 books by June.
But getting kids to want to read is even better. Miss Malarkey wins over students by helping them find books that match their interests. That pushes the students over the 1,000 mark.
-"A Place Called Kindergarten" (Putnam, $15.99, ages 4-8) by Jessica Harper and illustrated by G. Brian Karas.
The animals who live on Tommy's family's farm wonder why he's late in visiting them one day. They get their answer when a bus roars down the road as the sun begins to set. "I've been to kindergarten," Tommy announces.
He then shares with his pals - a horse, sheep, cow and chicken - what he learned that day. By bedtime, everyone is eagerly awaiting the next day at school.
-"On the Way to Kindergarten" (Putnam, $15.99, ages 4 and up) by Virginia Kroll and illustrated by Elisabeth Schlossberg.
Maybe kids don't think they're ready for kindergarten but, as this book points out, they've been training for it their whole lives.
When they were 1, they mastered the sippy cup, and when they were 2, they moved to a big bed. At 3, they caught their first ball and at 4, they drew trees and turtles and knew to color them green.
The next learning experience is school, and children will become expert at that, too.
-"How to Make Friends With a Giant" (Putnam, $16.99, ages 5 and up) by Gennifer Choldenko and illustrated by Amy Walrod.
Making friends in first grade is a challenge for little Jake, especially because he's so little the other kids call him "the shrimp."
The last person you'd expect Jake to bond with is giant Jacomo, but they do just that. They also point out to their classmates that it's not a big deal to make little accommodations for your friends.
-"Miss Mingo and the First Day of School" (Candlewick, $15.99, ages 4-7) by Jamie Harper.
Miss Mingo asks her pupils - a panda, pig and elephant, among them - to share something about themselves so they can get to know each other on this first day of school.
As the class learns interesting tidbits about each other, so will young readers.
The information includes: The Narwhal whale has only two teeth, but one is more like a tusk that can grow to be 10 feet long; a newborn panda is pink; and the koala's name comes from an Aboriginal word that means "does not drink." Koalas get all their nutrients from eucalyptus leaves.
-"Miss Smith Reads Again!" (Dutton, $16.99, ages 3 and up) by Michael Garland.
This is a teacher who knows how to bring reading to life. Every time Miss Smith, with her short, shocking red hair, opens a book, the class is transported to a different time and place.
In this adventure, they go back to prehistoric times and hang with the dinosaurs, which pleases student Zack because he's really into dinosaurs. But then they get a little too close to the dinosaurs, so Zack saves the day and encourages Miss Smith to finish the book so they can return home.
-"The Magic School Bus and the Science Fair Expedition" (Scholastic, $15.99, ages 7-10) by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen.
Ms. Frizzle's class heads to the new science museum to get ideas for their own projects for the science fair. But, thanks to the class' magic bus, this is no ordinary field trip. Instead of dropping the students off at the museum, the bus picks up some of the most famous scientists in history - Galileo, Copernicus, Issac Newton and Albert Einstein.
-"What Is Science?" (Henry Holt, $16.95, ages 4-8) by Rebecca Kai Dotlich and illustrated by Sachiko Yoshikawa.
What is science? Just about everything, according to this book, which serves more as an introduction to the word than its study. Young readers take a whirlwind tour of the solar system, hurricanes, mighty mountains and rolling land.
-"Spot 7 School" (Chronicle, $12.95, all ages) by Kidslabel, a Japanese publisher.
This is the first book in a hunt-and-find series. Two almost identical pages are featured on each spread, but seven things are different. The trick for children is to identify the differences and answer the accompanying riddles.
The common theme throughout is that the photographs feature school items, ranging from art supplies to bookbags.
-"Star of the Week" (Candlewick, $15.99, ages 5-8) by Barney Saltzberg.
At first, Stanley Birnbaum is happy to be the star of the week in his classroom. He gets to share his favorite food and his favorite toy. Unfortunately, though, his peers don't share his excitement for tofu bologna, cream cheese, jelly and pickle sandwiches.
When it's time for him to share his favorite activity - drawing - he freezes up. But some warm words from a pal get Stanley's creative juices flowing again.
-"What a Day It Was at School!" (Greenwillow, $15.99, ages 5 and up) by Jack Prelutsky and Doug Cushman.
So much can go on during a single day at school that sometimes it can't be captured in a single story. Instead, the critters at one particular school put their adventures into prose.
Poems include "My Backpack Weighs a Thousand Pounds," "I Wish I'd Studied Harder" and "I Have to Write a Poem for Class."
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