Cover image for Mae's first day of school / words and pictures by Kate Berube.
Mae's first day of school / words and pictures by Kate Berube.
Publication Information:
New York, New York : Abrams Books for Young Readers, [2018]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : colour illustrations ; 27 cm


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
BER Book Easy Collection

On Order



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?

Author Notes

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.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

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 PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

New York Review of Books Review

In these books, back-to-school jitters give way to smiles, laughs - even a little learning. MAE'S FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL Written and illustrated by Kate Berube. "I'm not going" is a phrase parents dread this time of year, but a book as clever and friendly as this one may ease the situation. As the first day of school dawns, Mae is holding out, arms crossed, imagining disaster as her mom and dad hustle her out the door, insisting that fun lies ahead. She climbs a tree, where she's joined by a girl named Rosie. Then a "tall lady" climbs the tree too, and tells the kids her own reasons for not wanting to go. She's their teacher, of course - a playful stroke by Berube ("Hannah and Sugar"), whose loose-lined art makes even scrunchy scowls seem delightful. 32 pp. Abrams. $16.99. (Ages 3 to 6) WE DON'T EAT OUR CLASSMATES Written and illustrated by Ryan T. Higgins. Penelope, a young T-rex in pink overalls, wants to be a good classmate. She just has to kick her habit of ingesting her peers, who all happen to be children. Higgins ("Mother Bruce") knows how to make big, scary animals seem vulnerable, lovable and funny, adding a strategic touch of gross-out when our heroine spits her victims back up. But this story of a reformed predator - Penelope changes her ways after a goldfish chomps her finger - is really about empathy. 48 pp. Hyperion. $17.99. (Ages 3 to 8) THE DAY YOU BEGIN By Jacqueline Woodson. Illustrated by Rafael López. Starting a new school year is hard enough. Add in feeling different from your classmates, and it can shake a kid to the core. The incomparable Woodson ("Brown Girl Dreaming") and López ("Drum Dream Girl") extend a reassuring hand in this verbally and visually poetic book that soothes concerns about having the wrong hair, bringing strongsmelling lunches, speaking imperfect English or spending the summer vacation at home. The kids we meet all take a first step toward making the most of school: finding the bravery to tell their own stories out loud. 32 pp. Penguin/Nancy Paulsen. $18.99. (Ages 4 to 8) THE DINOSAUR EXPERT By Margaret McNamara. Illustrated by G. Brian Karas. This fourth book featuring Mr. Tiffin's class (the previous one was "A Poem in Your Pocket") takes on both the excitement of a field trip to a natural-history museum and one girl's struggle to feel confident sharing her vast knowledge of prehistoric creatures - especially after a boy informs her, "Girls can't be scientists." Mr. Tiffin to the rescue: He steers her to an exhibit featuring Dr. Brandoni Gasparini, dinosaur expert. As always, McNamara and Karas excel at telling a story that balances facts and feelings. 40 pp. Random House/Schwartz & Wade. $17.99. (Ages 4 to 8) BESTFRINTSATSKROOL Written and illustrated by Antoinette Portis. Did you know that "on planet Boborp, childrinx go to skrool"? Of course they do! This exuberant follow-up to "Best Frints in the Whole Universe" explains the ins and outs of the little aliens' raucous way of learning (with a little lunch-throwing in the mix). The language Portis has invented for these colorful characters is hilarious and easy to follow - silly perfection, and maybe even an inspiration for little linguists to make up their own. 40 pp. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter. $17.99. (Ages 4 to 8) GOODBYE BRINGS HELLO By Dianne White. Illustrated by Daniel Wiseman. Starting school also means letting go of the trappings of little-kid life. This wise book bears witness to the transitions that lead up to that big one: growing out of favorite clothes, moving from trike to bike and from crayons to pencils. White ("Blue on Blue") and Wiseman ("Play This Book") keep the tone encouraging and gentle, offering a chance for even the youngest kids to indulge their nostalgia. 40 pp. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. $17.99. (Ages 3 to 7) TWIG Written and illustrated by Aura Parker. It's tough being a stick insect. You blend in easily - all too easily, as Heidi, the new girl at bug school, finds. When it comes to making friends, long, lean, woody-brown Heidi suffers, because no one can see her beyond her camouflage until the kind spider-teacher comes up with a solution (a scarf). Truth be told, there's not much to the story, but this adorable debut by Parker teems with delicate details, many of them visual puzzles. 32 pp. Simon & Schuster. $17.99. (Ages 4 to 8) MR. WOLF'S CLASS Written and illustrated by Aron Nels Steinke. This upbeat graphic novel - the beginning of a promising new series - chronicles the activities of a bustling class of fourth graders and their devoted, slightly overwhelmed teacher, Mr. Wolf. Yes, he's a wolf; the students are a host of animals, including a frog, a duck, a dog and a rabbit. Everyone has hands and feet and walks upright, though, and their problems and behavior are strikingly like their counterparts in schools for human children - only funnier. 160 pp. Scholastic/Graphix. $9.99. (Ages 6 to 10) MARIA RUSSO is the children's books editor at the Book Review.