Mae's First Day of School

by Kate Berube (Author)

Mae's First Day of School
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
As Mae's first day of school approaches she decides she IS. NOT. GOING. School is scary! What if the other kids don't like her? Or what if she's the only one who doesn't know how to write? Or what if she misses her mom? Mae's anxiety only builds as she walks to school. But then she meets Rosie and Ms. Pearl. Will making new friends show her that they can conquer their fears together?

Find books about:

Publishers Weekly

Mae insists that school is a no-go for her: "What if the other kids didn't like her, and what if she was the only one who didn't know how to write, and what if she missed her mother?" She hides in a big tree by the school door and is soon joined on a branch by like-minded girl Rosie and then by "tall lady" Ms. Pearl--whom, readers will quickly surmise, is none other than Mae and Rosie's teacher. But instead of coaxing the girls down, Ms. Pearl folds her arms stubbornly and announces her intention to stay in the tree, too: "What if the kids don't like me? Or what if I forget how to spell Tuesday? Or what if I miss my cat?" Berube (Hannah and Sugar) is an astute and funny portraitist of children's anxieties, and the first day of school is tailor-made for her talents. Ages 3-7. (July)

Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

PreS-K When Mae wakes up on the first day of school she announces to her parents that she will not be going. Her unrelenting parents get her out of the house and all the way to the schoolyard; but the moment her mother's back is turned, Mae makes her escape up a tree. Sitting there in the shady branches she considers never going to school, maybe even never leaving the tree. She is quite surprised when another small person named Rosie climbs up and announces that she will not be going to school either. The two share some cookies and it becomes clear that they're afraid of the same things. It takes the arrival of a third unexpected tree climber, a tall lady named Ms. Pearl, to convince them all to venture into kindergarten. The text is lighthearted but realistic and the mixed media illustrations show a bright, beautiful day while Mae's prominent scowl and obstinate expression contrasts excellently with her mother's happy exuberance. Best of all, the story doesn't trivialize Mae and Rosie's fears and takes time to affirm the bravery necessary to take a big step such as going to school for the first time. VERDICT Reassuring and silly, this is a welcome addition to most collections.—Laken Hottle, Providence Community Library

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"Berube's story takes its protagonist's fears seriously, and even though young readers are likely to anticipate the story's outcome, its respect for their emotions is clear . . . A sweet affirmation of jitters and comfort in numbers."— "Kirkus Reviews"
Kate Berube
Kate Berube is the author and illustrator of Hannah and Sugar, which was hailed as "a marvelous picture book debut with an achingly authentic story of fear conquered" in a starred review by Publishers Weekly. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
July 20, 2018

Subscribe to our delicious e-newsletter!