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Review: Third Grade Angels

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Looking for new books to share with your child? Check out the book review below! Each week we bring you the latest reviews of books geared toward children in grades K-5 from the creators of "Sweet on Books", a locally-based initiative with reviews written for you exclusively by mothers, as part of our ABC7 Learning Section Enjoy!

Title: Third Grade Angels

ThirdGradeAngels250 Author: Jerry Spinelli

Illustrator: Jennifer A. Bell

Themes: Humor, Friendship, Life Challenges, Growing Up, Self-Awareness/Discovery, School, Good Books for Boys, Behavior

Published: 2012, 112 pages

'Sweet' book summary:
Reviewer: Melissa Y.

"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 storyteller, 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 storytelling 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.

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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.
If you liked this book, try:
  • Stuey Lewis Against All Odds by Jane Schoenberg
  • Andy Shane and the Very Bossy Dolores Starbuckle by Jennifer Richard Jacobson
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