cover image It's the First Day of School... Forever!

It's the First Day of School... Forever!

R.L. Stine. Feiwel and Friends, $15.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-312-64954-8

Blending comedy with his trademark brand of bestselling horror, Stine's take on a Groundhog Day%E2%80%93style premise stars a fifth grader stuck reliving his disastrous first day at a new school. Arriving at school with syrup in his hair and the front of his jeans soaked, Artie discovers he's been followed by his dog, who tears the principal's suit. Like falling dominoes, a sequence of debacles follows: Artie hits a popular boy with a baseball (and later causes him to fall and break his leg), lets the valuable class scorpion escape, has a spaghetti-related accident at lunch, and wanders into the girls' bathroom. There's some expected repetition as Artie's day replays, but Stine's embellishments%E2%80%94including plenty of chapter cliffhangers and a twist ending%E2%80%94keep things wickedly funny (Artie is a ready source of quips and one-liners) and increasingly ghoulish (on the second go-round, the dog bites the principal's hand; later, he bites the hand off). After bearing witness to the injuries, humiliations, and terrors that Artie faces, even readers' toughest days at school will feel like a breeze. Ages 9%E2%80%9312. (July)