What You Need to Know:|
• Third Grade Angels is written by the venerable Jerry Spinelli, author of the Newbery-award winning Maniac Magee,
however, this book will reach out to a younger audience than a lot of Spinelli's other work.
• Third Grade Angels is the prequel to Spinelli's older book, Fourth Grade Rats.
• This story covers issues that happen at both home and school, told perfectly from a third-grader's point of view.
• There are many relatable, age-appropriate topics generated by this story, making it a good shared reading with lots
of jumping off points for valuable discussions between parent and child.
"Do I have to be good if nobody is watching?"
This is something third grader, George "Suds" Morton, is struggling with in this charming new book by master story-teller, Jerry Spinelli. Suds is a typical, but complex third grade boy with a bit of a perfectionist streak. He enjoys being first at most everything he does, so it is only natural that he wants to be the first in the class to be named boss angel and win the coveted halo. But Suds finds out being perfect isn't easy, and being perfect all the time is near impossible.
Third Grade Angels is a chronicle of the journey Suds takes trying to win the angel contest in Mrs. Simms’ class by being the most helpful and well-behaved student. He struggles to do the right thing at every turn and practically exhausts himself in the process. Spinelli's story-telling is funny and spot-on. Kids will relate to many of the character’s struggles at home and at school. Even if your child isn't a perfectionist, there are many other characters in the book that will share his third grade concerns. All kids will find something to connect to in this book.
Third Grade Angels would be a perfect read-aloud with your child. It also lends itself to a multi-age read aloud. So, if your home is filled with early elementary kids and pre-school kids, this would be a good book to pick up and read to all of them. It will provide wonderful discussion points for all ages and create meaningful conversations about character, ethics, and the challenges of growing up. And since Spinelli explores both the school and home dynamics, the possibilities for discussion are endless. It's a wonderfully funny and entertaining read.
Jennifer A. Bell
2012, 112 pages
Humor, Friendship, Life Challenges, Growing Up, Self-Awareness/Discovery, School, Good Books for Boys, Behavior
• Do you think you should still behave and do good deeds, even if nobody is watching? Why?
• Where and when is it hard for you to follow the rules? Why?
• What types of situations cause you to get "chipmunky" feelings in your body? Why?
• Suds takes a bath when he feels anxious. What do you do when you feel anxious? How do you calm down?
• Which character in Mrs. Simms' class is most like you and why?
• Why do you think the incident on the playground with the jogger's hat occured?
• Do you think the children who watched the incident happen and didn't stop it were just as guilty as the ones who
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