Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Classic Early Chapter Book

Today I am profiling an early chapter book that was around when I was a kid.  I know what you're thinking.  Why didn't I save this one for retro Friday when I pull books from the past out of the archives?  That was what you were thinking, wasn't it?

Well, despite being written in 1972, this book is absolutely timeless.  I dare you find a kid who won't laugh along with this story that feels like it was written for them.  How does Judy Blume do it?  Well, take excellent writing and add it to a story that touches on the emotions that kids really feel about siblings and family, mix in some humor and voila!  Oh, if it were only that easy.

Don't forget to Like One Great Book on Facebook or Twitter for all the best books written in the 1970's.  Hey, I grew up on this stuff and I turned out alright!

Title:       Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

Author:   Judy Blume

Target:    Grades 2-4

Series:     Yes

What this book is about: 
Peter is in fourth grade and has a little brother Fudge.  Fudge is lavished with attention, being the adorable little brother, but Peter knows better.  Fudge goes through Peter’s stuff, he has meltdowns of epic proportions and is catered to by every member of the family.  Can Peter survive all the problems that Fudge will create next?

Why I love this book: 
Despite being written in 1972, this book stands the test of time.  Perhaps it is because Judy Blume is able to not only tap into the feelings of every big brother and sister, but also delve into the universal humor that surrounds the trouble that siblings have created throughout the ages.

Who hasn’t lamented that a little brother has gotten into your stuff?  Who hasn’t thrown up their hands at the goofy friends your little sister brings home?  Who hasn’t been embarrassed by their sibling in public and their ridiculous antics?  Well every child will find a sense that someone understands their plight and they will be able to laugh with Peter.

I also very much enjoy the structure of the book.  Each chapter is a short and complete narrative which moves the arc of the book forward.  It is very rewarding for kids to have a mini conclusion at the end of each chapter.

Who this book is for: 
This book is wonderful for kids who are ready for chapter books.  There are not pictures, but at only 120 pages the book is very manageable for kids who have moved on from early readers.

Final thoughts: 
Judy Blume got me through elementary and middle school with her books that touch on what kids are really feeling.   Perhaps that is why, after all these years, she remains relevant and beloved in children’s fiction.  Of course I still remember  my dog eared copy of Forever.

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you.

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