Best Book I Have Not Read

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Extra Credit by Andrew Clements July 1, 2009

Filed under: book reviews,KidLit — bestbookihavenotread @ 7:55 am
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If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you know I ‘heart’ Andrew Clements so of course I had to pick up his newest book while I was buying books at Cover to Cover last week.

Extra Credit is another winner by Andrew Clements! Main character Abby is NOT a fan of school. She loves the outdoors and climbing, and has a hard time seeing the value of her classes (sound like any other Clements’ characters?). She is told she is not going to be able to go on to seventh grade if she does not get her act together in a big way (all B’s from then on and a randomly drawn extra credit project!).

Abby is assigned a penpal in Afghanistan who she needs to exchange at least four letters with, create a class display, and give an oral report to her class about the experience. She selected Afghanistan because of the countries her teacher had personal contacts in, Afghanistan was closest to mountains (Abby’s passion).

Across the other side of the world, Sadeed’s teacher requests permission from the Village’s Council for one of his students to be pen pals with an American student. It is decided that it would not be proper for the teacher’s recommended student Sadeed to write to the girl, but he is to supervise his younger sister’s writing of letters.

A friendship blossoms on both sides, with both Abby and Sadeed having an experience with bias about the other pen pal’s country. Both pen pals end up with much more than they bargained. 

A great “school story” by Andrew Clements that I think boys and girls will enjoy reading. It didn’t knock my Clements’ favorite School Story off its pedestal, but it is still a great new best book!


Lost and Found Twins August 13, 2008

Filed under: books,school — bestbookihavenotread @ 9:08 pm
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Lost and Found by Andrew Clements

Who is this man?

I love Andrew Clements. I wanted to be clear of my bias right from the start. I love teachers who are also authors or go onto become published authors.  I particularly love introducing my fourth graders to an author that they can love as much as me. It doesn’t matter if you are a boy or a girl, Clements hits it right on the head for the intermediate aged reader. Lost and Found was not a disappointment.  The story of twin boys who have moved to a new town was one I was interested in right away as there are FIVE sets of twins coming up into fourth grade this year in my relatively small town.  I knew I was due to have one complete set and two partial sets (Isn’t that a yucky way to describe them? No wonder Jay and Ray did what they did!) within my classroom and already struggled with knowing which identical twin was which, not something I was proud of as I pride myself on knowing almost every child in the grade level. 

Jay and Ray are constantly mistaken for each other and when the opportunity arises (a school clerical error-now those neverhappen) when they move to a new town to be one person, rather than a “set”, they decide to deal with the consequences later and try their plan to just be “one” person. The brothers take turns staying home sick from school and soon realize their plan is a little more complicated than getting to have every other day off to watch tv and goof off. The lies pile up quickly until…

In addition to the two main characters, there is a great character Mrs. Cardiff, school nurse! There is a hallmark adult in each of Clement’s novels that helps pull the story together in a way that makes it believable and Mrs. Cardiff is this novel’s adult.

Unlike Bernetta Wallflower, the boys do end up getting busted and having consequences galore. While dishonesty did not pay in this book, the issues identical twins deal with was given an original treatment and gives readers, as well as parents and teachers, something to think about in their relationships with twins.

Another successful Andrew Clements novel!

While my all time favorite happens to be The School Story,  there is a whole site dedicated to Frindle, Clements first novel.

If you teach middle aged students and you don’t know Andrew Clements work you need to! I do feel he is the Beverly Cleary or Judy Blume of the decade so far.