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The Defense of Thaddeus A. Ledbetter Hardcover – October 1, 2010
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From School Library Journal
Gr 5-8–Thaddeus Ledbetter has gotten himself into a lot of trouble by staging an unauthorized safety drill at Crooked Creed Middle School. The consequence of his behavior is a yearlong, in-school suspension, which takes place in isolation with one tired teacher's aide for supervision. This gives Thaddeus much time to prepare his defense, the result of which is this humorous, over-the-top account of his misdeeds. The unauthorized safety drill was only one of several incidents involving the school. Besides these antics, Thaddeus is constantly trying to improve his principal's management skills and the teaching techniques of the faculty. Thaddeus's demands for improvements and, at times, spot-on advice and suggestions, make this an entertaining read. Kids will root for him on as they identify with his frustrations, such as an outdated grading system and teachers spending more time on lesson plans than on teaching. As the real story subtly evolves, it becomes evident that the boy's concern for disaster training is related to his father's recent death from cancer. The story is delivered through letters, notes, school reports, clever illustrations, and journal entries. It has the same sassy, irreverent spirit as Jeff Kinney's “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series (Abrams) but will appeal to a slightly older crowd. The format, though at times purposely distracting, makes it an enjoyable choice for everyone, including reluctant readers.–Tina Martin, Arlington Heights Memorial Library, ILα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Thaddeus Ledbetter is a legend in his own mind, as deficient in social skills as he is clever and motivated. He not only has an answer for everything but an efficiency plan as well. Unable to recognize that his advice is often unwanted, misguided, and, in some cases, bordering on the insane, he is sent to In-school Suspension (ISS). Instead of doing his schoolwork, Thaddeus compiles a dossier to protest his punishment. Notes from his only friend, his correspondence with the school principal, and a “Prison Diary” are interspersed throughout the novel and help explain the mitigating circumstances behind his mishaps. A subplot concerning the recent death of Thaddeus’ father adds perspective to his behavior. Still, he is often intolerable, but that won’t stop kids from enjoying his outrageous antics. This original and entertaining book, with its smarty-pants narrator and case-file format, will draw comparisons to the Wimpy Kid series. Grades 4-7. --Kara Dean
Top customer reviews
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He is incredibly creative and inventive; just has a lot of adults around who don't "get" him!!
As the mom to 3 boys, I could relate to a lot of his great ideas. The illustrations are also great--
Thank you for such a fun book. I've ordered several more copies to give as gifts--adults and kids!~
Gosselink has created a character that only a mother (or perhaps a tolerant and patient teacher) could love. To put it simply, Thaddeus is so full of himself, so convinced that he knows all and can do all and everyone should bow to his superior intellect. (I did find myself wondering if Thaddeus ever gets out of in-school-suspension would he grow up to be another Sheldon from TV's Big Bang Theory.) Thaddeus is a good kid with a good heart - he just doesn't see the flaws in all of his schemes. And when they fail, it couldn't have possibly been because they were flawed - the failure is always due to someone or something else - at least it's that way in Thaddeus' mind.
This is a laugh out loud read, perfect for 5th graders and above who enjoy Diary of a Wimpy Kid and want to move on to something just as humorous, but perhaps a little more advanced.
Recommended for Grades 5 - 8th.
Mrs. Archer's rating: 4 of 5.