cover image The First Week of School

The First Week of School

Drew Beckmeyer. Atheneum, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-6659-4042-9

A classroom’s first week launches a dynamic change in this inventive picture book. Monday reveals a clique of sports buffs (“They call themselves the SPORT KINGS, but nobody else does”), an artist worried about showing their work, an inventor frustrated with a malfunctioning satellite, a teacher buzzing on eight cups of pre-lunch coffee, and Pat, the class’s lonely bearded dragon. On Tuesday, a spaceship deposits a one-eyed extra- terrestrial just outside the classroom. Attired in abandoned clothing, the alien, called “Nobody,” seamlessly joins the crew, and as the week progresses, becomes a catalyst for creating genuine community—even Pat feels seen. Before rejoining their own kind, Nobody makes a change that resets the week, leaving the Earth-siders blissfully unaware of what has happened. Using crayon-styled bird’s-eye-view illustrations, straightforward captions (“This is Show and Tell. This is Recess”), and emotionally observant text that communicates multiple perspectives, Beckmeyer invites readers to root for the transformation of a classroom culture. Ages 4–8. (June)