Last Day Blues
Julie Danneberg, author
"As a kid, when I daydreamed or played at being grown-up, I never imagined myself as a writer. Instead I dreamed of being a famous girl reporter, a secret agent, and a teacher." With an imagination like that, it's hard to believe that Colorado native Julie Danneberg never considered a career as a writer.
After graduating from the University of Colorado, Boulder, Julie became a teacher. In her classroom, she read many children's books, and witnessed the profound impact a good book can have on a child. "I was motivated to try and write books like the ones I enjoy reading."
Read more about Julie.
Judy Love, illustrator
Judy Love is a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design and has illustrated numerous children's books, including First Day Jitters and Last Day Blues by Julie Danneberg.
Read more about Judy.
For all the fuss about the beginning of school, only a handful of picture books take place at the end. Here, Mrs. Hartwell's class, a tight-knit group, sympathetically imagines how much their teacher will miss them over the summer: "While we're swimming, she'll be reading her old lesson plans." They decide to do what they can to cheer Mrs. Hartwell, soon to be devastated by their absence. There's an undertone of irony here, which adults may pick up sooner than children. Despite the mournful, last-day-of-school scene the children imagine (when the final school bus pulls away, a crew of bereft and bawling teachers remains on the steps), the book's last in-school scene shows a conga line of happy teachers bouncing down the hallway. The comic exaggeration in the vivid, colorful illustration makes this a lively choice for sharing with school groups, and the wordless illustrations on the last page show what Mrs. Hartwell really does over the summer.
School Library Journal
Mrs. Hartwell's students are worried about how sad she'll be and how much she'll miss them when school lets out for the summer. They look for the perfect gift to help her remember them and decide to make a poster with a poem and drawings featuring all of the things that theyll miss about school, especially their teacher. Bursting with color, the cartoon illustrations look at the experience from both sides with hilarious results. The characters faces are highly expressive and run the gamut of emotions throughout the book. As the children wrack their brains for the perfect present, a group of teachers can be seen in the distance planning their vacations with great excitement. A story with both child and teacher appeal.
One more myth dispelled for all the students who believe that their teachers live in their classrooms.
During the last week of school, Mrs. Hartwell and her students reflect on the things they will miss, while also looking forward to the fun that summer will bring. The kids want to cheer up their teacher, whom they imagine will be crying over lesson plans and missing them all summer long. But what gift will cheer her up? Numerous ideas are rejected, until Eddie comes up with the perfect plan. They all cooperate to create a rhyming ode to the school year and their teacher. Love's renderings of the children are realistic, portraying the diversity of modern-day classrooms, from dress and expression to gender and skin color. She perfectly captures the emotional trauma the students imagine their teachers will go through as they leave for summer. Her final illustration hysterically shatters that myth, and will have every teacher cheering aloud.
What a perfect end to the school year.
The Midwest Book Review
Last Day Blues is a lively, heart-warming story about Mrs. Sarah Jane Hartwell's students. The children are preparing for their last day of school with weary hearts, but decide to give their teacher a present to show her how much they appreciate her. Entertaining, emotion-filled drawings engage the reader as the children speculate about which present to get for Mrs. Hartwell. The final result is something from the heart that Mrs. Hartwell can treasure as she remembers her class and prepares for her own vacation. Children can relate well to this engaging and perhaps familiar story about school ending for the summer.
ISBN: 978-1-60734-550-3 EPUB
ISBN: 978-1-60734-287-8 PDF
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Page count: 32
8 x 10