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The Classroom (The Epic Documentary of a Not-Yet-Epic Kid) (Classroom (Epic Documentary of a Not-Yet-Epic Kid)) Hardcover – June 19, 2012


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 720L (What's this?)
  • Series: Classroom (Epic Documentary of a Not-Yet-Epic Kid)
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion (June 19, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423150635
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423150633
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4-7-Trevor Jones admits that he's obsessive and a little neurotic, but his best friend, Libby, has stuck by him and defended him throughout elementary school and he's depending on her to continue to do so. But while they wait for the bus on the first day of middle school, she explains to him that he's on his own now. Seventh grade is a whole new ball game with new rules and new friends and she can't have him tagging along. Trevor seems shell-shocked and is just hoping his sneakers are adequately scuffed up to not look new, and he's confused about why Libby is sporting a new skirt and lip gloss. The book is set up to resemble a film documentary, with cameo inserts of characters done in contrasting fonts with clever ideas like labeling the illustrations as "Camerawork" and calling the author the "Director." Unlikely scenarios like having to have a date for the fall dance by the end of the first day of school seem out of place, and the tempo seems to drag, calling it curtains for suggesting this title to reluctant readers. While there are some amusing illustrations that will appeal to "Wimpy Kid" readers, the slow, evasive plot will keep this book from flying off library shelves. Strictly an additional purchase.-Cheryl Ashton, Amherst Public Library, OHα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review

Gr 4-7 Trevor Jones admits that he's obsessive and a little neurotic, but his best friend, Libby, has stuck by him and defended him throughout elementary school and he's depending on her to continue to do so. But while they wait for the bus on the first day of middle school, she explains to him that he's on his own now. Seventh grade is a whole new ball game with new rules and new friends and she can't have him tagging along. Trevor seems shell-shocked and is just hoping his sneakers are adequately scuffed up to not look new, and he's confused about why Libby is sporting a new skirt and lip gloss. The book is set up to resemble a film documentary, with cameo inserts of characters done in contrasting fonts with clever ideas like labeling the illustrations as "Camerawork" and calling the author the "Director." Unlikely scenarios like having to have a date for the fall dance by the end of the first day of school seem out of place, and the tempo seems to drag, calling it curtains for suggesting this title to reluctant readers. While there are some amusing illustrations that will appeal to "Wimpy Kid" readers, the slow, evasive plot will keep this book from flying off library shelves. Strictly an additional purchase. -Cheryl Ashton, Amherst Public Library, OH—SLJ

"This documentary set out to show the real story of Trevor, along with his normal, everyday, average classmates.... Westside is their middle school. And these are their stories." With an introduction like that (and the subtitle), readers may expect more of a documentary-style novel than what Mellom (Ditched: A Love Story) actually delivers in her first middle-grade novel. Most of her story unfolds through good old third-person omniscient narration, interspersed with occasional "interviews" with seventh-grader Trevor Jones and his classmates. Fortunately, Mellom has a gift for school-days humor, and her novel is very entertaining. Trevor, a consummate worrier, and Libby, a consummate planner, have been best friends for years, but as they begin the school year, Libby, tired of covering for Trevor's (many) gaffes, believes it is time for them to make new friends. Gilpin's spot art (not all seen by PW) is a mix of notes, cartoons, and other "found materials" that add to the book's sense of fun as romantic entanglements and misunderstandings proliferate in the days leading up to the school dance. Ages 9 12.—PW

A documentary crew descends upon Westside Middle School to reveal what middle-school students' lives are really like. At the heart of the story is Trevor Jones, just starting middle school. He's a worrier and a "pre-thinker," and, despite his claim that he's not worried about seventh grade, he has it all planned. He's got brand-new clothes, and his yogurt stick is frozen just right to be the perfect temperature by lunchtime. Unfortunately, his best friend forever, Libby, shakes his cool at the bus stop when she informs him about the upcoming dance and how he must ask a girl by the end of the day. The whole novel revolves around the dance and the attendant social drama of middle-school life. Though readers never find out much about the making of the documentary itself, it's a clever contrivance. A third-person narration alternates with interviews with the major players. There's Trevor, Libby, eighth-grader Corey Long, Wilson the custodian, and seventh-grade gossip Cindy Applegate among the several main players. Illustrations add appeal to the story, including cartoonish drawings found in Trevor's notebook, a "Social Skills Training" pamphlet found in Counselor Plimp's office and drawings from Libby's Hola! Kitty Cat! sketchpad. All in all, a silly but appealing story for readers approaching the middle-school years. (Fiction. 9-12)—Kirkus

A shy, nerdy lad comes through in the clutch with a climactic act of "total epicness," though it's a long haul getting to the moment. Presented as a filmed reality show but actually a conventional third-person narrative intercut with private expostulations from major characters, the tale mostly takes 12-year-old Trevor through his first day of seventh grade-during which he not only has to learn how to navigate the hazards of middle school while being suddenly abandoned by his overcontrolling lifelong best friend, Libby, but is tasked with asking some new classmate out to the upcoming dance. The final third sweeps through the ensuing weeks to the dance. Interspersed with handwritten notes, doodles, and yearbook-style head shots, Trevor's string of funny, if predictable, mishaps culminates with a sabotaged dance that he selflessly salvages amid much opening of eyes and relationship repair. Readers who prefer novels in which plot takes a backseat to characters' internal ruminations, frets, chains of logic (or illogic), and insights (sometimes mistaken) about themselves and others will happily tune in. - John Peters—Booklist

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 11 customer reviews
The format was fun as well, with the 'interviews' and illustrations.
Heidi Grange
This is a read that older elementary and middle grade readers will love.
Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids Book Reviews
My kids love it....They kept reading and got it done within a few day..
Don

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids Book Reviews on June 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
A fabulously written, relatable middle grade coming of age story, The Classroom is a hysterical read with witty, well grounded characters and a quick, engaging plot line. It's been awhile since I've read a truly fun book, and Robin Mellom's middle grade debut is just that! With a documentary crew descending on Westside Middle School to document the life of an average 7th grade boy as he learns to navigate his way through MS, Robin was able to give a creative writing spin to her book by telling it from a documentary point of view. This not only allows readers to get to know the main character Trevor better, she also introduces readers to a variety of other characters through various interviews that take place in the book.

Trevor is a character I think a lot of people will relate to. He's hit that awkward stage where you reluctantly leave behind some of your "childhood" tendencies and learn to deal with a more mature scene in middle school. If that wasn't hard enough, learning to navigate your way around middle school for the first time isn't fun, and nor is learning how to fit into a new crowd. What Trevor deals with and learns to cope with are things adults will get, and young readers will be able to relate to. It's not just Trevor that readers will understand, but the rest of the characters who now make up Trevor's social scene.

Libby, who's Trevor's best friend is a a little bit neurotic and started off the story in a surprising way. Having grown up with Trevor all their lives (they're now 7th graders), they've done everything together. Being that Trevor tends to get himself in awkward situations, Libby has decided that this year they need to make new friends. I kind of got her point, but poor Trevor is forced to quickly learn to rely on himself vs is best friend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Reader on July 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the kind of book I know my fifth grade son is going to be passing around to all his friends. It's light, funny, quick, and about kids they can all relate to. I love finding realistic middle grade that feature "good" kids, kids who want to do well and are generally trying to be good people and do the right thing. On top of that, this book is just plain funny. And I know my son and his friends always appreciate short chapters and fun drawings, and the "documentary" style of this book definitely lends itself to that. I'll be looking forward to more!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cathe VINE VOICE on August 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Trevor (socially clueless) and Libby (slightly neurotic) are starting middle-school and are trying to do what they think it takes to fit in. This book is written as a documentary -- interspersed with interviews, pages from notebooks, pamphlets, posters, and other media making it different and fun. Mellom's characters are both sweet and over-the-top funny. The short chapters will appeal to reluctant readers. This is a great choice for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and The Strange Case of Origami Yoda.
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Format: Hardcover
Having spent many years teaching middle school students and dearly loving each and every one of them, I read this book through their eyes as well as mine. From the beginning, the cover tells you, this book is going to be fun. The students depicted on the cover are comical and cartoon like in their appearance. Flipping through the book, the drawings carry that fun loving feeling throughout.

The way the book is formatted with the personal interviews and photos of the characters laced throughout, the narrative is just genius to me. At first, I liked it because it enabled the reader to get to know the characters better, to know what they were really thinking. By the end of the book, their personal thoughts and photos were so imprinted in my mind, I knew I'd probably never forget them. They will live on in my memory until I meet them again in the next book. But then later in the book,the real genius seemed to come when the interviews were used to interplay or serve as a juxtaposition or contrast to each other and/or to the narrative. Using the character's first person account to take the reader somewhere unexpected is delightful. And through the interviews, Mellom so captures the language for each character along with the illustration of each of them, I can hear and picture them saying those words. I think I know them! I want a Cindy Applegate doll! And of course a Trevor doll! There's something so whimsical about him, he reminds me of Woody in Toy Story. And certainly a Libby doll! and Molly and Marty and...
Needless to say, I loved this book!
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By Librarian Laura on July 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Middle grades often get stuck between children's books and YA, but this book bridges that gap. Witty writing and frequent pictures will make this a popular title with both reluctant and avid readers.

Trevor has studied all summer to prepare for 7th grade, but he knows he can't survive without his best friend and defender Libby's help. When she announces that he has to find new friends and a date for the first dance by the end of the day, he is left on his own to face the bullies and social games. Trevor is a likable character, and his bumblings make for an entertaining read. The minor characters are fun and add to the overall humor of the book--like the teacher who loves his red Skittles and the AP who is convinced the kids need to eat only veggies.

The format of the book with the stage being set as a documentary and the characters giving journal entries of sorts will appeal to kids, especially those reluctant readers who are intimidated by a lot of text.

The topics in the book--bullying, crushes, friendships, and confidence--are discussed through action and character reactions instead of long dialogue where the reader becomes bored.

I enjoyed this book and plan to share it with my students in the library.

I received this book in exchange for my review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.
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