Cover image for Never spit on your shoes
Never spit on your shoes
Cazet, Denys.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Orchard Books, [1990]

First grader Arnie tells his mother about his tiring first day at school, while the illustrations reveal the mayhem he is leaving out of his account.
General Note:
"A Richard Jackson book."
Reading Level:
280 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.0 0.5 6078.

Reading Counts RC K-2 1.3 1 Quiz: 08303 Guided reading level: J.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



Arnie, a puppy, tells his mother about the first day of school. The two appear, with the text, in a cozy inset showing them snacking at home, while the rest of each double-page spread is wide open to the chaos that occurred in first grade . . . Kids should love exploring the illustrations for more beginning school mayhem . . . made even more comic by the delicious expressions on the characters' faces.--Kirkus Reviews, pointed review. Full-color illustrations.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5-7. New first-grader Arnie, a cat, is welcomed home from school by his mother, who offers him milk and cookies. Prodded by her gentle questions, he calmly begins to re-create the events of his day--finding a desk, making rules ("Never spit on your shoes"), locating the correct bathroom, and eating lunch with the class. The humor comes not from Arnie's understated commentary, which appears in an orderly inset on each page, but rather from the chaotic mayhem that he omits, shown in the full-page illustrations surrounding the boxed narratives. Here we find assorted animal children eating paste, sticking straws up their nostrils at the lunch table, counting with fingers and toes, and blowing bubbles into the fish bowl. A few jokes may pass right over the intended audience ("Just say no to catnip"), but for the most part Cazet is right on target, and his cozy line-and-watercolor illustrations convey warmth and humor without making fun. Keen-eyed children will note that one illustration shows a red crayon while the text refers to a yellow one, but that won't deter them from enjoying the story. A treat for sophisticated first and second graders (and their teachers), and younger children will like it as well. --Kay Weisman

Publisher's Weekly Review

The author/illustrator of Frosted Glass and A Fish in His Pocket again captures the humor and nuance of the early elementary years. Arnie arrives home exhausted. ``How was Mr. First Grader's first day?'' his mom inquires. And so this endearing book unfolds, with the conversation of Arnie and his mom (set off in a box) counterpointed with illustrations of how the day really progressed (with dialogue in cartoon-like balloons). The title reflects a class discussion during which the children--depicted as sweetly anthropomorphized animals--offer their own interpretations of school rules. Arnie's day is tough: mixing up the bathrooms, eating school lunch, tearfully watching the kindergarten bus leave, a tough P.E. class, falling asleep during story time. While the understated humor may have more direct appeal for parents and teachers, young readers will identify with the ``day in the life'' immediacy. Ages 3-6. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-- Arnie arrives home exhausted but proud of making it through the first day of first grade. Greeted by his loving mother, the two sit down for a snack and a good chat. While Arnie relates the day's activities, Mother listens, suitably impressed with the stories of the animal-filled class presided over by a kindly hippo. New friend Raymond is particularly impressive; it is he who can write backwards, rescues Arnie during P. E., and invents a new class rule: ``Never spit on your shoes.'' Cazet has created another appealing hero with the appearance of young Arnie. Enthusiastic and excited about school, he is a typical first grader, always ready for a new experience. Cazet cleverly captures the classmates' personalities and antics through narration and illustration; cartoonlike captions highlight their humorous asides. The school settings are particularly warm and cheerful, if a bit chaotic. Funny without poking fun at young children, this oversized picture book will win new fans for Cazet, who hints of a sequel. Let's hope for the return of Arnie, Raymond, and their first-grade friends. --Jane Dyer Cook, Stockton-San Joaquin County Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.