Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

First Day at Zoo School

First Day at Zoo School

Sarah Dillard
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 6
Sleeping Bear Press, 2014   ISBN: 978-1585368907

It is the first day of Zoo School and Mrs. Wattles is all ready to receive her students. One of these students is Amanda, a panda bear, and she is also ready to go to school. Actually, she is more than ready. She is eager and excited. Alfred the alligator is not at all happy at the prospect of going to school. He feels that he knows “so much already,” and wonders if it is “really necessary” for him to go to school.

   As Amanda gets close to school she realizes that all the other young animals have a best friend to keep them company. Sadly she thinks that she is only one who is friendless. Then she sees Alfred. There and then Amanda decides that he is the friend for her. Before Alfred can react, the ebullient bear grabs Alfred by the paw and she drags him to school.

  When they get to school Amanda tells Alfred where to sit, and at lunch she finds him, even though he is trying very hard “to be invisible.” Calling him “Gator,” Amanda bosses Alfred around until he finally has had enough.

   In this engaging picture book we meet two young animals who have nothing in common. One is loud and outgoing, while the other is quiet and shy. One loves school and the other does not. As the story unfolds the author shows to great effect (and with delightful touches of humor) how such disparate personalities can clash, and how they can also make up.