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Capture the Flag
Kate Messner


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It's the First Day of School...Forever! PDF Print E-mail

What You Need to Know:
• Future horror film fans will love the adrenaline rush they get from this book.
• R.L. Stine, known as the “Stephen King of children’s literature”, is also the author of the popular Goosebumps Series.
• This book was optioned for the big screen so you may see it in movie theaters sometime in the future.
• The mild concerns include a man’s hand being torn off by a dog, decomposing bodies rising from their graves and a
  human body shockingly made out of weasel-like animals.
• While there are some scary moments in this story, any fears should be alleviated by the surprise ending.
• The main character is a boy, and there is plenty of humor targeted directly to a male audience.
• Although the language and sentence structure are indicative of a Reader Senior book, it is placed in Independent
  Junior because of the subject matter.
Sweet Book Summary:
The “Groundhog Day” of middle grade books, It’s the First Day of School...Forever!, is less predictable than I expected it to be. There is, by the nature of this type of story, some level of repetition, but R.L. Stine manages to add unexpected details and unusual surprises along the way. While this concept has been explored by other authors (see Help! I'm Trapped in the First Day of School), this version is definitely unique. Stine’s signature blend of horror and humor, combined with an unexpected ending, offers a fresh view on a familiar idea. Stine touches on many of the painful aspects of middle school, like what to wear, how to talk to “hot” girls and how to navigate the lunchroom, but within the bizarre world that Stine has created, it all seems comical and insignificant.

Artie Howard is stressed out about his first day at a new middle school. He worries about what other kids will think of him. Wanting to make a good first impression, he chooses his t-shirt and jeans with care. Wearing the right clothing, however, soon becomes the least of his problems. Artie takes “Murphy’s Law” to a whole new level, and readers will find out that what can go wrong, definitely does. In fact, poor Artie is a mess before he even gets to school. Things go from bad to worse after he enters the building. He causes such havoc that by the end of the day, the whole school, including the faculty, is out to get him. The next morning he wakes up and has to relive his first day of fifth grade all over again! Will he ever figure out how to break the cycle and get to day two?

What at first seems like a bad dream, soon turns into an even bigger nightmare, as Artie’s new school gets stranger and scarier. The principal makes more and more sinister comments, there’s a graveyard in the basement of the school, a baseball seems to go right through a boy’s head, and a scorpion grows to giant proportions. This is obviously not your average school. What is going on here? Readers have to get to the end to find out the surprising answer!
Author: R.L. Stine Illustrator: n/a Published: 2011, 192 pages
Themes: Adventure, Books for Boys, Cliques/Popularity, Fantasy, Imagination, Scary, School, Siblings
Sweet Discussion Questions:
• Did you guess why Artie keeps going back to the first day of school?
• Is Artie’s school anything like yours? In what ways are they similar?
• How do you usually feel on your first day of school?
• What’s the worst thing that ever happened on your first day of school?
• What would you do if a teacher was making you feel bad or uncomfortable?
• Why do first impressions matter?
• Do you have any tricks to help you make a good first impression? What are they?
If You Liked This Book, Try:
Skinny Bones, Barbara Park
The Unusual Mind of Vincent Shadow, Tim Kehoe
Roxie and the Hooligans, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
This recommendation was written by: Melissa G.
Support Independent Book Shops: Click Here to Buy this Book on IndieBound

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