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The Flunking of Joshua T. Bates Paperback – April 27, 1993


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 890L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling (April 27, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679841873
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679841876
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.1 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #624,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The humorous trials and tribulations of this put-upon protagonist include having to repeat the third grade, and being chosen best friend by the class dork. Ages 7-11.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 2-4-For Joshua T. Bates, summer vacation ended with being told he would be returning to third grade, instead of moving into fourth with all his friends. All the anger, humiliation, and degradation of "flunking" are revealed in his first days of school as most of his fourth grade classmates won't play with him, and Tommy Wilhelm teases and embarrasses him. Fortunately, his teacher tutors, befriends, and makes him a class helper so that his respect and self-esteem are reinstated. This is an unabridged reading of the book by Susan Shreve (Knopf, 1984). The technical quality is excellent. Johnny Heller reads the book capably. With the new promotion policies that many school districts are adopting, this story may help those students who are held back to develop skills at their age-appropriate levels. The difficulties and values of learning to read are reflected in the text. The only dated item is how the boys wear their baseball caps. Third and fourth grade teachers will find this a useful story for individuals or groups.
Ann Elders, Mark Twain Elementary School, Federal Way, WA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

More About the Author

Susan Richards Shreve is the author of several novels, including A Student of Living Things and You Are the Love of My Life, as well as the memoir Warm Springs: Traces of a Childhood at FDR's Polio Haven. She has also written dozens of children's books, including The Lovely Shoes, and is the co-editor or editor of five anthologies.

Shreve founded the MFA degree at George Mason University, where she is a professor of English and present co-chairman of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. She has also taught at Columbia School of the Arts and Princeton University for the MFA programs. Among her numerous accolades are the Guggenheim Award for Fiction, the Grub Street Prize for nonfiction, and the Service Award from Poets & Writers. She lives and writes in Washington, DC

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By D. Collier on June 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
I can still remember how it felt. I was held back in the 6th grade (unlike Joshua, in my case it was my own fault), and though Joshua didn't realize it, he was actually very fortunate to have been held back earlier rather than later.
Susan Shreve must have been held back herself as a child, or had at least one of her own children held back, or dealt with many students who have been held back. She writes the story in such a way as to meet the reader right where they are. She seems to identify with someone who has had to repeat (or is in the process of repeating) a grade for whatever reason.
Although it is a very short story (initially written for my generation -- see the "Pac-Man" refernces), it still brings home some very important messages for young kids struggling in school, whether it be academically or socially. Also, in the tradition of Katherine Paterson's "Bridge To Terebithia" and Louis Sachar's "There's a Boy In the Girl's Bathroom", this story also does a wonderful job of offering us the character of a teacher who is able to reach the student on a deep and meaningful level...the kind of teacher we never forget about no matter how old we get.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
Joshua T. Bates has a rather nasty surprise at the beginning of our tale. It's a few days before school when his mother drops the news on him: he has failed 3rd grade and will repeat. Joshua at first doesn't believe her, and then decides that at his first opportunity he's moving to South Africa. ESPECIALLY after his sister, who has had no trouble through school, ribs him about it.
What could be worse than spending a year behind all your friends?? What's worse than being three times as mature-heck, 10 times as mature-as all the incoming third grade students?? What could be worse than reading the same ol' stories over and over and over again, all year long?? Well, I suppose terminal cancer would be much worse, but when you're in 3rd grade, being retained is a fate worse than death. Meanwhile, Joshua's fate has just been sealed.
What will strike readers about "The Flunking..." is how realistic it is. Joshua is embarrassed, ashamed, feels like a true flunky and seriously contemplates moving to S. Africa, if only he could get a ride there. He goes from trying to make the best of the situation to feeling so down and depressed he can hardly stand it. In other words, his character is HUMAN, and the author freely lets him run the gamut of human emotions... Especially third grade male emotions, which are usually quite complicated.
He eventually learns to work hard, and through the kindness of his teacher (who he first thought of as a human military tank) he begins to learn about himself. His teacher, also, is going through some very tough times, and she shares a bit of her personal life with Joshua.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Alyssa A. Lappen TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a perfect book for second or third graders who are becoming independent readers, and offers the spice of encouragement to the reluctant ones.
Joshua T. Bates ought to have been going into fourth grade in the fall. But he had flunked third grade the year before. He couldn't read well enough, and his math skills left something to be desired.
Having to enter a third grade class with kids a year younger was a humiliation for Joshua. Everyone at Mirch Elementary knew it and would not let him forget. Worse than that--if such a thing were possible--was the pasting he took on the schoolyard from the school bullies. Neither Tommy Wilhelm nor Billy Nickel would let Joshua play team sports with the fourth graders.
Joshua of course pulled his studies together and showed up both bullies in a rather surprising set of circumstances. How he did it is what keeps children turning these pages.
I read this story aloud to one of our children, in her reluctant reader stage. By the end, she was anxious to read alone. She raced through the next two books in the trilogy herself. Our son plowed through all three books, also in second grade, without a hitch. Go for it. Alyssa A. Lappen
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on October 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is about Joshua T. Bates who spent all summer having fun...that is until Labor Day when his mom gave him the devastating news ---he had to repeat third grade !
He thought his year would be terrible and that everyone would make fun of him because he flunked third grade.
But his teacher cared and gave him the extra help he needed to succeed. Joshua made new friends and learned that with hard work and and practice he could make it into fourth grade where he belonged.
Kids our age will like this book because it is a page turner and it teaches you that no matter how bad things may seem, if you believe in yourself, you can do anything!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on November 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
I gave this book a three because the book had a a short story line and did not give enough charcter detail in my opinion. Basically this book is aboutJosh a third grade student who has to repeat third grade and is very miserable. Until his teacher starts helping him. The book was pretty amusing but I couldn't keep reading on and on. I would say that overall this was a fair book.
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