Your new backpack can’t hold another thing.
There are tissues in there, in case you sneeze. Pencils, maybe some crayons for drawing. You have room for a notebook, too, and everything you’ll need to carry for your big day. And in “Butterflies on the First Day of School” by Annie Silvestro, illustrated by Dream Chen, you might be toting something else, too.
It was the day before her first day of school and Rosie was excited. She had a new backpack and “she loved it with all her heart.” She danced around the room, pretended like she was in class, practiced making her letters on a piece of paper, and said her teacher’s name, so she’d be really good at it.
But the night before her first day of school, Rosie was really nervous.
On the morning of her first day of school, Rosie didn’t feel so good. She told her mother that maybe she should stay home but Rosie’s dad said she’d be fine. Rosie’s mom said it, too, adding that Rosie just had butterflies in her stomach.
Rosie had never heard of such a thing but when another girl sat next to her on the way to school, Rosie was sure she saw a butterfly escape from her own mouth.
Two more fell out when she began talking to the girl.
She felt more butterflies in her stomach a little later, when it became her turn to talk in class. That was okay, though: as soon as she told everybody who she was and what she liked to do, the class laughed and three butterflies “flitted into the air.”
That made her feel not-so-nervous anymore and for the rest of the day, she painted and played, and she felt much better by recess. She felt well enough to play tag with her new friends, until she saw another little girl beneath the playground tree.
The girl was holding both hands over her belly, and Rosie knew what that meant: someone else had butterflies in her stomach, too, and Rosie knew exactly how to get them out…
When it comes to going to school for the first time, no matter how much you prepare, you really can’t. Somebody’s always going to be a little scared, but “Butterflies on the First Day of School” will help soothe those belly-flutters.
Author Annie Silvestro tickles at a child’s imagination with the idea of real butterflies in a little girl’s tummy, and she does it in such an appealing, matter-of-fact way that even adults will be charmed. Colorful artwork by Dream Chen shows gauzy butterflies being let loose every time something good happens to little Rosie, and that imagery helps make this a gentle, happy story of literally letting go of fears and, ultimately, of finding friends to boost one’s confidence.
For 5-to-7-year-olds who are going to school for the first time, or for kids who are starting at a new school, this book is just perfect. “Butterflies on the First Day of School” carries a lot of goodness.
“Butterflies on the First Day of School” by Annie Silvestro, illustrated by Dream Chen, 32 pages,
c. 2019, Sterling, $16.95.
• Terri Schlichenmeyer of The Bookworm Sez is a self-syndicated book review columnist. Schlichenmeyer’s reviews include adult and children books of every genre. You may contact her at email@example.com