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First Year Letters

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In this sequel to FIRST DAY JITTERS, Sarah Jane Hartwell has gotten up her courage and has gone to teach school. And as every first year teacher knows, a classroom full of second graders can be alarmingly unpredictable. The key to eventual success is the classroom post office Sarah Jane establishes. The letters the children write to Mrs. Hartwell are sympathetic ("I figured you might be a little scared, just like me"); informative (" ost kids don't eat cauliflower"); encouraging ("Yesterday was THE BEST!"); and apologetic ("I'm sorry about throwing up all over your shoes"). Even the custodian and the principal write to Sarah Jane. Teachers and children alike will identify with Mrs. Hartwell as she navigates her first year. And many classes will be inspired to write letters about their own experiences.


K-Gr 3-In this animated follow-up to First Day Jitters (Charlesbridge, 2000), Danneberg and Love continue to pay tribute to the trials and tribulations of elementary school teachers through the experiences of Mrs. Sarah Jane Hartwell. Through short letters and notes written by her students and colleagues, readers learn of Sarah Jane's many classroom adventures, including field trips, a loose pet, fire alarms (complete with sprinklers and the arrival of firefighters), and drop-in visits from the principal. Although these messages hint at the events that take place throughout the school year, the lively and engaging illustrations, done in transparent dyes, really tell the story, incorporating humor through details attentive children will discover. The vibrant colors and animated faces bring the barely controlled chaos to life. Although it is a bit disconcerting that only one student hand writes his messages, children will appreciate that most of the notes are typed and easy to read, and will relate to and enjoy this book.-Piper L. Nyman, Fairfield/Suisun Community Library, Fairfield, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Mrs. Harwell from First Day Jitters (1982) returns for another chaotic school year in First Year Letters by Julie Danneberg, illus. by Judy Love. The narrative consists of letters that the students write to their teacher (sent via the classroom post office), candidly commenting on a variety of incidents. Eddie apologizes for throwing up on her shoes; Margaret compliments the teacher for leaping over a railing "like a real track star" to straighten up a stuffed buffalo while on a museum field trip. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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