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Third Grade Angels Hardcover – September 1, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 2-4-In keeping with the rhyme, "First grade babies! Second grade cats! Third grade angels! Fourth grade rats!," Suds Morton's new teacher considers each of her students an angel. She has high expectations, and the prize-spending a week as boss angel while wearing a cardboard halo-has Suds and his classmates falling over one another to prove just how angelic they are. Everyone wants to earn the first halo of the year-especially Suds. He picks up trash, holds the door for others, and even treats his little sister kindly. Will Mrs. Simms notice his hard work? This beginning chapter book moves at an enjoyably brisk pace; readers will appreciate the familiar school and home settings, and they'll look forward to meeting the characters again in a forthcoming book. A story kids will relate to, with valuable, down-to-earth messages about character and motives.-Amanda Struckmeyer, Middleton Public Library, Madison, WIα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Reflecting on a school-yard rhyme, “First grade babies! / Second grade cats! / Third grade angels! / Fourth grade rats!,” Suds happily leaves babies and cats behind to start third grade as an angel. His cheerful teacher explains that her third-graders can earn their halos by doing good deeds. Suds is determined to be the first to win his halo, but the competition is fierce and his anxiety level rises. Just when the outcome seems clear, surprises come from both his classmates and his teacher. Spinelli works in some interesting concepts, such as levels of niceness (positive actions versus cessation of negative actions) and the questionable value of goal-oriented goodness. A prequel to Spinelli’s Fourth Grade Rats (1991), this accessible chapter book features a simply written, first-person narrative and believable, true-to-third-grade characters. Illustrations include plenty of black-and-white pictures (most not seen in final form) and a clever, eye-catching image on the jacket. For discussion, pair this with Claudia Mills’ Perfectly Chelsea (2004), featuring a child who strives for goodness in a religious context. Grades 3-4. --Carolyn Phelan
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 5
  • Lexile Measure: 390L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books (September 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545387728
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545387729
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,257 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Growing up, Jerry Spinelli was really serious about baseball. He played for the Green Sox Little League team in his hometown of Norristown, Pennsylvania, and dreamed of one day playing for the major leagues, preferably as shortstop for the New York Yankees.

One night during high school, Spinelli watched the football team win an exciting game against one of the best teams in the country. While everyone else rode about town tooting horns in celebration, Spinelli went home and wrote "Goal to Go," a poem about the game's defining moment, a goal-line stand. His father submitted the poem to the Norristown Times-Herald and it was featured in the middle of the sports page a few days later. He then traded in his baseball bat for a pencil, because he knew that he wanted to become a writer.

After graduating from Gettysburg College with an English degree, Spinelli worked full time as a magazine editor. Every day on his lunch hour, he would close his office door and craft novels on yellow magazine copy paper. He wrote four adult novels in 12 years of lunchtime writing, but none of these were accepted for publication. When he submitted a fifth novel about a 13-year-old boy, adult publishers once again rejected his work, but children's publishers embraced it. Spinelli feels that he accidentally became an author of children's books.

Spinelli's hilarious books entertain both children and young adults. Readers see his life in his autobiography Knots in My Yo-Yo String, as well as in his fiction. Crash came out of his desire to include the beloved Penn Relays of his home state of Pennsylvania in a book, while Maniac Magee is set in a fictional town based on his own hometown.

When asked if he does research for his writing, Spinelli says: "The answer is yes and no. No, in the sense that I seldom plow through books at the library to gather material. Yes, in the sense that the first 15 years of my life turned out to be one big research project. I thought I was simply growing up in Norristown, Pennsylvania; looking back now I can see that I was also gathering material that would one day find its way into my books."

On inspiration, the author says: "Ideas come from ordinary, everyday life. And from imagination. And from feelings. And from memories. Memories of dust in my sneakers and humming whitewalls down a hill called Monkey."

Spinelli lives with his wife and fellow writer, Eileen, in West Chester, Pennsylvania. While they write in separate rooms of the house, the couple edits and celebrates one another's work. Their six children have given Jerry Spinelli a plethora of clever material for his writing.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Lori Katz on September 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Suds is a boy entering third grade. Mrs. Simms, his teacher, challenges her students to be kind, considerate, hard working and to behave in and out of school and will reward those that abide with a halo. While this charming story focuses on Suds, aka George trying to be the first student to get the halo I enjoyed the relationship between Suds and his mom even more. Loved the fact that he earned his nickname from the enjoyment of relaxing in the tub. Loved the limited but important things the dad had to say and totally loved his mom and her words of wisdom. The writing is perfect for second grade and up and reluctant readers will enjoy the humor, the illustrations and the short chapters.
Readers will enjoy Jerry Spinelli's newest book and will probably search for his Fourth Grade Rats (Third Grade Angels is actually a prequel) to continue reading about Suds. Read as an ebook arc courtesty of Scholastic via Netgalley.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dee Knapp on March 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This review was written by my 8 year old granddaughter: "Third Grade Angels is awesome. I give it 5 out of 5 stars. I recommend that third graders read this book. I think that teachers should buy this book to read to their students. If you liked Diary of a Whimpy Kid, you will like Third Grade Angels."
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Brian Snipes on January 27, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My eight year old son loves to read. We are always looking for good books, not just comics, but reading books for him.
He has read this book four times and he wants more from the author!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Anna McCarthy on April 18, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love the book and I think kids should read it it was so good I finished in 2 days and I don't finish a book in 2 days
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kari L. Rucker on September 16, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"You would like it if you were going in to third grade. It's kind of funny where Joseph says to Judy "you da chick". It was also kind of funny when Joseph slid down the slide on to Gerald Willis and Gerald saying mean words to Joseph. It was the best book ever!" This was a review written by one of my third grade students.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Goggle-Eyed Slewfoot on September 7, 2014
Format: Paperback
If I persuaded you to become more benevolent--or a counselor, or minister, or anyone else, you might check back periodically to see how you're doing. What's more serious, you might compare yourself with others in terms of benevolence. This, in turn, induces you to become selfish.

I remember such a catch-22 when I was in third grade. Whenever a classmate dropped a pencil on the floor, the neighbors would clamor for a chance to pick up that pencil and hand it to the classmate.

This problem is addressed in Third Grade Angels. And the moral of the story becomes clear in the last chapter.

I still like Who Ran My Underwear Up the Flagpole? (0606019790), also by Spinelli, a little better. This book expresses the moral in a more subtle manner. But then again, it was written for a somewhat older audience. If what Piaget tells us is true, this older audience is better able to understand abstract concepts.

I hear distraught teachers saying, "You're asking children to read between the lines? It's hard enough getting them to read ON the lines!"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By jessicacamden13 on February 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This would be a great book for teachers to read to their students. It would be great for teaching them how important it is to follow the rules, and helps teachers with classroom management skills. I liked the part were she gets the students involved with what they think is important for them to get their "halo." This would be a great book for students, I feel that both boys and girls would enjoy this book. It also would be helpful in teaching them important lessons. It could also help students not be afraid about changing grades in schools, and that teachers will know them even though they are new to the classroom setting. I also like that it is part of a series, so that students can continue to follow the characters as they grow up. By doing this students will be able to relate to the characters as they read these books and how things change as you grow up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By TwiMama on October 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We bought this to encourage our 3rd grader to read more and to help with her transition to the 3rd grade in a new school. She looks forward to reading it after school everyday and she can't stop talking about this book. We're very happy that she enjoys it as much as we hoped she would.
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