About the Holiday
It’s the day you and your child have been waiting for! Preschool is in the rearview mirror and kindergarten is full-steam ahead! As you and your child do the shopping for backpacks, new clothes, and other necessary items and excitement grows, there could also be a little nudge of worry or nervousness just below the surface. Today’s holiday can be a reminder for adults to talk with their kids about starting school or entering a new class to see how they’re feeling about the changes ahead. Sharing picture books about school, making friends, and having a new kind of independence can help ease the transition. Today’s book is a great place to start!
I received a copy of Butterflies on the First Day of School from Sterling Children’s Books for review consideration. All opinions are my own. I’m excited to be teaming with Sterling in a giveaway of the book. See details below.
Butterflies on the First Day of School
Written by Annie Silvestro | Illustrated by Dream Chen
Rosie had been looking forward to school for ages. She’d already picked out her backpack and practiced all the skills she’d need on that first day. “But the night before her first day, Rosie couldn’t sleep.” The next morning, she couldn’t eat her breakfast, her stomach hurt, and she worried her baby sister would be lonely without her. At last, her dad told her it was time to go. As he took a picture of her, she said that she didn’t feel well. “‘You just have butterflies in your belly,’ said her mother, hugging her tight.” Rosie was going to ask about those butterflies, but just then the bus pulled up.
Rosie felt nervous as the bus rumbled on. Then a girl sat next to her and introduced herself as Violet. Rosie introduced herself. “As she spoke, a butterfly flew from her mouth.” When Rosie revealed she had the same teacher as Violet, two more butterflies flew out. “Violet didn’t seem to notice.” In the classroom, everyone gathered on the rug, and Mrs. Mancini asked the kids to tell a little bit about themselves. In turn, each one said something. Rosie waited nervously. Then suddenly it was her turn. She stood up and words tumbled out. As she spoke, “three butterflies flitted into the air.” Later, Rosie painted two pictures of flowers—one for her and one for Violet—and played with the other kids. Sometimes a butterfly would flutter out. “But by recess, she could barely feel them anymore.”
While everyone was playing tag on the playground, Rosie noticed one girl standing alone by a tree. Rosie went over and asked if she wanted to play. As they introduced themselves, Isabella’s butterflies “soared into the sky.” At the end of the day when Rosie got off the school bus, she ran to her mom and told her how much fun she’d had. Her mom hugged her and told her that she wanted to hear all about it as “the words floated out on a shimmering butterfly’s wings.”
Annie Silvestro’s sweet story of a little girl on her first day of school is a sensitive and insightful portrayal of the nervousness that can accompany any new experience. Acknowledging those “butterflies” that can emerge to dampen even the most ardent enthusiasm, Silvestro gives adults and children a positive way to discuss and manage these feelings. Her reassuring imagery will captivate the reader’s imagination while showing them that accepting and offering friendship and participating in classroom or other activities are effective ways to release apprehension and embrace opportunities. Silvestro’s last line is a tug at the heart, and little ones may be surprised but also comforted to learn that they are not alone in their feelings.
Dream Chen’s delightful and vibrant illustrations glow with warmth and the camaraderie of a kindergarten class, while also highlighting Rosie’s uncertainty and her growing confidence as the butterflies she feels flutter away. Alert readers will notice another classmate who’s also experiencing butterflies on the bus and in the classroom. In Chen’s busy classroom gives adults and kids an opportunity to discuss common things they will likely see in their own room, including a rug for gathering on, a bulletin board, an easel, books, toys, and games. Rosie’s butterflies are beautiful and varied, suggesting that these feelings are a natural part of life and as you watch them flutter away, you can be proud of being brave and seizing opportunities.
Butterflies on the First Day of School is a must for home, classroom, and public library collections not only for first-day-of-school jitters but for any new activity or experience that sets the butterflies fluttering.
Ages 3 and up
Sterling Children’s Books, 2019 | ISBN 978-1454921196
Discover more about Annie Silvestro and her books on her website.
To learn more about Dream Chen, her books, and her art, visit her website.
Get Ready for Kindergarten Month Activity
Colorful Clothespin Butterfly Craft
With this easy Colorful Clothespin Butterfly Craft, you can make and display your own butterfly that will always remind you of the opportunities you’ve taken.
- Wooden pin clothespin
- Tissue paper in a choice of colors
- Craft paint in a choice of colors
- Black craft paint
- Fishing line, thread, or string for hanging (optional)
- Adhesive magnet for hanging (optional)
To Make the Body
- Paint the clothespin, let dry
- When dry add accent dots or lines and eyes. I used a toothpick with the point cut off to make the dots on the purple butterfly. I used the pointy end of a toothpick to make the eyes and the lines on the pink butterfly.
To Make the Wings
- For the top wings, cut a 6 ½ -inch circle from tissue paper
- For the bottom wings, cut a 5 ¼ – inch circle from tissue paper
- With the head of the clothespin facing down, insert the larger circle into the split in the clothespin so that half of the circle shows on either side.
- Gently pull the circle down tightly into the split, pulling it as far in as possible—about half way
- Next insert the smaller circle into the split and repeat the above step.
- Gently fan out the wings if necessary
If hanging the butterfly, attach fishing line, threat, or string
If making a magnet, attach the adhesive magnet to the back of the butterfly.
You can find Butterflies on the First Day of School at these booksellers
Picture Book Review