First Day at Zoo School

from Sleeping Bear Press


  • Memoirs of a Hamster
  • Memoirs of an Elf
  • A Cookie for Santa
  • Little Birthday
  • I Love Hockey
  • Digger and Daisy Go to the Doctor
  • M is for Monster: A Fantastic Creatures Alphabet
  • P is for Pirate: A Pirate Alphabet
  • Kay Kay's Alphabet Safari
  • First Day at Zoo School


  • Quality

  • Read-it-Again Score

  • Fun-and-Learning

  • First Day at Zoo School published by Sleeping Bear Press
  • Written by: Sarah Dillard
  • Illustrated by: Sarah Dillard
  • We recommend this book for kids ages 5 and up


Overall Editor's Rating

What It Is

First Day at Zoo School by Sarah Dillard is a 40-page book that explores the emotions a child feels on his/her first day of school as well as what it means to be a good friend. As for any new student, the first day of school can be a mix of emotions-exciting yet scary. And this book's characters, Alfred the Alligator and Amanda the Panda, represent each emotion. Amanda the Panda is ready for school, while Alfred the Alligator is both shy and scared. While outgoing, when Amanda gets to school and sees every other student already has a best friend, she realizes she needs one, too. And despite Alfred's shy demeanor, Amanda decides he's the perfect candidate to be her new best friend.

Of course, having never had a best friend before, things don't go so well at the start. Amanda soon realizes being a best friend isn't about doing what one friend wants and not the other. It's also about sharing, taking turns, and listening to each other. And for Alfred, it becomes a lesson in making your feelings known to your friends. In the end, they work out their problems and truly become the best of friends.

Is It Fun?

This is a sweet story that captures many of the emotions a young child feels entering school for the first time. It also highlights a lot of the important elements of friendship for young kids, encouraging them to make sure all friends have a say in their friendship and helping them to understand what it really means to be a good friend.

Who It’s For

First Day at Zoo School is for ages 5-7.

What To Be Aware Of

First Day at Zoo School is available in hardcover and ebook formats.