R.L. Stine's newest book is reminiscent of the movie "Groundhog Day" but with a twist. As his morning alarm sounds and his mother nags him to get dressed, Artie realizes with dread that today is his first day at a new school.
Events at the breakfast table provide plenty of clues that Artie's day is off to a bad start. His little brother spills his juice, making it necessary for Artie to change his shirt, but before he has time to make the needed adjustments, his brother "accidentally" squirts maple syrup in Artie's hair. Since time is ticking away, Artie's mother declares that he only has time to wipe off with a wet cloth because he must walk his brother to kindergarten before heading to his own classroom.
Getting to school offers up new challenges. With a little brother jumping in puddles left by last night's rain, Artie must dodge the splashing water. Once outside the elementary school and with the little guy almost safely delivered, a huge tanker truck drives through a large puddle in the street, spraying Artie's favorite jeans right across the crotch. Every kid and staff member in the school eyes the front of his pants warily, and Artie knows exactly what they are thinking.
The trouble doesn't end when he reaches his new school. As he stops to greet the principal and ask directions, Artie's dog, Wowser, makes an appearance. The silly dog has never followed him before, but he's in rare form today. The dog enthusiastically jumps on the principal and rips the pocket right off the man's new suit jacket. The principal sends Artie on to class, saying he will take care of removing the dog.
When Artie thinks he is safely in his classroom and seated in the only empty desk, he really isn't surprised to find out he is in someone else's seat. Not only does he learn that "someone" is the school bully, but he also finds out he's not even in the right classroom.
What follows is one tragic event after another. Artie causes the escape of a rare, poisonous scorpion, meets a terrifying member of the school staff when he is sent to the basement bookroom, and ends up leaving a trail of destruction in the cafeteria. It seems like a day that will never end. And as luck would have it - Artie might be right about that prediction.
IT'S THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL ... FOREVER! has plenty of action for its target audience. I'd suggest grades 4 through 6 for this one. Stine excels in describing events every school child fears. His young fans will find this one a satisfying read.