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The Fabled Fourth Graders of Aesop Elementary School Hardcover – August 14, 2007


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 5
  • Lexile Measure: 580L (What's this?)
  • Series: Aesop Elementary School
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Schwartz & Wade; First Edition edition (August 14, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375836721
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375836725
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,817,903 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

A wish comes true for the principal of Aesop Elementary School when Mr. Jupiter arrives to take over a class with a reputation. With his vast experience and beautiful brown eyes, he charms everyone, including the librarian. Each of the short chapters, good for reluctant readers, describes familiar scenarios: lunchroom antics, name-calling, learning the Dewey Decimal system, and the all-important standardized-testing month. The premise is intriguing even as pieces of the action seems forced; the Aesop-like morals are a curious mix of aphorisms, some in familiar form and others recast to fit the plot. There is plenty of humor here; some of it, however, comes from stereotypical characters, both students and staff. Mr. Jupiter's first appearance promises a fantasy, but except for one other episode of wish fulfillment, this is, rather, exaggeration for the sake of humor. Fun for some, but other readers may play hooky before the year is over. Isaacs, Kathleen

About the Author

Candace Fleming is the prolific author of many critically acclaimed, bestselling books for children, including the picture books Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! (an ALA Notable Book and four starred reviews), and Boxes for Katie (a Junior Library Guild Selection and a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2003); the nonfiction titles Our Eleanor (an ALA Notable Book, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and three starred reviews) and Ben Franklin's Almanac (an ALA Notable Book, ALA Best Book for Young Adults, James Madison Honor Book, and three starred reviews). She lives in Mt. Prospect, Illinois.

More About the Author

I have always been a storyteller. Even before I could write my name, I could tell a good tale. And I told them all the time. As a preschooler, I told my neighbors all about my three-legged cat named Spot. In kindergarten, I told my classmates about the ghost that lived in my attic. And in first grade I told my teacher, Miss Harbart, all about my family's trip to Paris, France.

I told such a good story that people always thought I was telling the truth. But I wasn't. I didn't have a three-legged cat or a ghost in my attic, and I'd certainly never been to Paris, France. I simply enjoyed telling a good story... and seeing my listener's reaction.

Sure, some people might have said I was a seven-year old fibber. But not my parents. Instead of calling my stories "fibs" they called them "imaginative." They encouraged me to put my stories down on paper. I did. And amazingly, once I began writing, I couldn't stop. I filled notebook after notebook with stories, poems, plays. I still have many of those notebooks. They're precious to me because they are a record of my writing life from elementary school on.

In second grade, I discovered a passion for language. I can still remember the day my teacher, Miss Johnson, held up a horn-shaped basket filled with papier-mache pumpkins and asked the class to repeat the word "cornucopia." I said it again and again, tasted the word on my lips. I tested it on my ears. That afternoon, I skipped all the way home from school chanting, "Cornucopia! Cornucopia!" From then on, I really began listening to words--to the sounds they made, and the way they were used, and how they made me feel. I longed to put them together in ways that were beautiful, and yet told a story.

As I grew, I continued to write stories. But I never really thought of becoming an author. Instead, I went to college where I discovered yet another passion--history. I didn't realize it then, but studying history is really just an extension of my love of stories. After all, some of the best stories are true ones -- tales of heroism and villainy made more incredible by the fact they really happened.

After graduation, I got married and had children. I read to them a lot, and that's when I discovered the joy and music of children's books. I simply couldn't get enough of them. With my two sons in tow, I made endless trips to the library. I read stacks of books. I found myself begging, "Just one more, pleeeeease!" while my boys begged for lights-out and sleep. Then it struck me. Why not write children's books? It seemed the perfect way to combine all the things I loved: stories, musical language, history, and reading. I couldn't wait to get started.

But writing children's books is harder than it looks. For three years I wrote story after story. I sent them to publisher after publisher. And I received rejection letter after rejection letter. Still, I didn't give up. I kept trying until finally one of my stories was pulled from the slush pile and turned into a book. My career as a children's author had begun.

For more information visit my website: www.candacefleming.com.

Customer Reviews

As a parent, I'm always looking for books that my children would enjoy and this is one of them.
Bita
We were given the Fifth Graders book of this series as a gift and at one glance,I ordered up the Fourth Grader book for my son.
Jean
Who knows what Mr. Jupiter's past *really* is, but it's plain that he cares about the kids and the kids really respond to him.
third time mom

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. Mulkey on September 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this with my grandaughter in mind, and I loved reading it myself! The teacher who tackles the "class nobody wants" is upbeat, off-beat, and more than equal to the challenge. His interactions with his students are both hilarious and thought-provoking. I recommend this to readers of all ages who enjoy humor mixed with "a moral".
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Vernie Heeney on April 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
"It was hysterical, hilarious, as well as had good morals. It taught us good things and funny things that we enjoyed very much." These are the comments of my fourth graders that I just read the book to. They thought it was a great book and are wondering if there is a sequel. If so, they want to read it! Candace Fleming is a great author that engaged my students from the first chapter.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By jfs on September 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
These fabled fourth graders at Aesop Elementary School have a lot to learn morally. I looked forward to reading each chapter to see what these uncanny students were going to get themselves into and what moral was to be learned, such as "It is wise to prepare today for the wants of tomorrow." or "Appearances aren't everything." The chapter titles sometimes related to the real "Aesop's Fables", such as, The Boy Who Cried Wolf Monitor. The characters made me chuckle, such as Miss Paige Turner (librarian), Hamilton, Ham for short, Samich (enjoys food), Victoria Sovaine (pretty), Stanford Binet (smart), and Mrs. Playwright (drama teacher). This is a chapter book that I think boys would enjoy because it briefly mentions yucky stuff like "cooties" and "poop"(Hey, as long as they are reading!). I loved it. It will be available in my classroom for character building and enjoyment reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on June 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The Fabled Fourth Graders of Aesop Elementry School was an instant like. I love the way that the author created the charachters by giving them funny names that reflected each charachter's personality/role, such as Paige Turner, (the librarian)Missy Place,(a girl who spontainiously loses her mittens again and again) and Mrs. Gluteal (the gym teacher). Each story has a moral to it like each of Aesop's fables. (Honesty is the best policy, slow and steady wins the race, etc.,etc.)There is a little bit of "gross stuff" like poop, burps, the like. As I read though, I got a profound feeling of how each charachter felt. The Fabled Fourth Graders of Aesop Elementry School is a book I highly recommend to everyone!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Drossel on July 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My 9 year old son loved this book so much he asked me to write a review. He thought the book was really funny and he could not stop reading it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. Alexander on March 7, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought it for my daughter in 4th grade. Already a voracious reader, she finished it in an afternoon -- declaring she couldn't put it down. My wife was so intrigued she read it too. Both found it very funny and topical.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By third time mom on June 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The Fabled Fourth Graders of Aesop Elementary School is a fun, imaginative modern age fairy tale. The characters' names are often plays on words (librarian "Paige Turner"); many of which will go right over the heads of the intended audience but adults will get (smart kid "Stanford Binet"). Mr. Jupiter is the new teacher to a group of infamously misbehaving fourth graders. He (in fairytale fashion) walks in off the street asking the principal for a job the day before school starts and is hired on the spot.

The book is a series of short stories, very much like traditional Aesop's fables. Most are 5-10 pages long and each ends with a traditional Aesop's fable moral, but the stories are modern and the setting is the classroom. So whereas traditional Aesop would tell the story of the Tortoise and the Hare, this book tells the story of a not-very-booksmart girl who memorizes a 58 line poem, a little bit each day, in order to win a poetry contest over a poetry-know-it-all who was SO sure she had the contest won that she stopped competing. The stories have characters we all knew or know as kids so readers will enjoy reading them. There is enough elements of fantasy and whimsy that the entire story is still understood to be a make believe fairy tale, such as the 1000+ page books the kids work from, the geothermal chemistry textbooks, and the purpoted past of the teacher, Mr. Jupiter (past jobs include working at the Coochie-Coochie school of Misbehaved Monkeys, teaching hula dancing at Balderdash Acadamy for Boys, and teaching Swahili as a second language in Switzerland). Who knows what Mr. Jupiter's past *really* is, but it's plain that he cares about the kids and the kids really respond to him.

We checked this book out from the library but I will very likely buy a copy for my kids as I think it's one we'd like to reread many times. It would make a fun bedtime read for older kids or a great read-aloud in a classroom.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By D. Whicker on August 26, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I teach 4th grade. I think one of the most important things I do for my kids is to read to them. It models good reading, phrasing. It exposes them to books and writers they may not have explored on their own. I was looking for some new books to read aloud. I loved the title of this book. At first I was disappointed, but then it began to grow on me. It's not the best book I've found for reading aloud (Tale of Depereaux, Holes, HP book 3, are better written), but this book has its charm. I can use it to introduce or to enrich a unit on fables. I am sure my colleagues will enjoy the chapter about standardized testing So sometime this school year, my students will meet their peers from Aesop Elementary School.
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