Summary from the inside left flap: The fourth grade students at Aesop Elementary have a reputation for being . . . Rambunctious, Precocious, Special.
Take Calvin Tallywong. He wants to go back to kindergarten, but he should be careful what he wishes for! When Calvin actually gets the chance, he’s forced to do the squirrel dance and wear a yellow school bus name tag. How will he ever escape?
And then there’s Amisha Spelwadi, who can spell wildebeest, no problemo. She’s sure she’ll ace her spelling test, but . . . she shouldn’t count her chickens before they’re hatched ! Suddenly Amisha is given a really tricky word.
Luckily, these students and their classmates, like Ham Samitch (who loves to eat) and Victoria Sovaine (who loves herself), have a dinosaur-digging, Mayan-ceremonial-robe-wearing teacher named Mr. Jupiter to guide them.
I know a young girl who, according to her mom, considers me to be her hero and considers library her favorite class. How cool is that? The only hero librarian I’ve heard of is Barbara Gordon aka Bat Girl. Well, I’m no Bat Girl, but I wanted to foster this young girl’s love of books, so while at the Texas Book Festival I was on the look out for a special book. My young friend is a fourth grader, so when I saw this book I thought it would be perfect.
I love Candace Fleming’s picture books and her non-fiction books. Her illustrator husband, Eric Rohman is a favorite as well. I’d never read any of Fleming’s chapter books. Oh, how I wish I had before I bought this for my young friend and before I ordered it for the library.
I know that adults are not the targeted audience for this book and I tried hard to view this as one of my students would. The book is play on Aesop’s fables. Morals abound. Even if each chapter hadn’t ended with a moral, most adults would be able to recognize the classic fables presented in a somewhat quirky and modernistic fashion. The problem is that I’m not sure students will get the fable connections. Unlike Louis Sachar’s Wayside School series, the humor seems to be targeted more for adults than kids.
Another problem I had with the story (and this is totally from the perspective of an adult) was the behavior of the kids. I really didn’t find it humorous or quirky. Instead they just came across as incredibly ill mannered. I hate it when I read a book and I can’t find one character I like.
I’m very disappointed in this book. I’m not sure I will bother reading the sequel and I’m very worried that my young friend for whom I purchased the book will think I’ve lost my mind. She may never ask me for a book recommendation again.