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Search tags: Jerry-Spinelli
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review 2018-04-13 16:41
Loser - Jerry Spinelli

For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

This book was really difficult for me to get into. As a kid, I remember a lot of my friends reading it. As an adult, I still didn't really know what it was about having never read it in school, so when I saw it in the Little Free Lending Library, I picked it up for a quick read.

Mostly, the book was just sad. There is no doubt the reader will fall in love with Zinkoff's character, but you just feel bad for him the whole time. He is such a sweetheart, but nothing really goes his way. He is wonderful and has good intentions. He accepts everything that happens to him and is such a champ about everything that you just want everything to work out for him. And when something doesn't, you just die a little bit inside. It's like that repetitively. That's basically the summation of the book: Zinkoff's tries and fails over and over and over again.

The ending was a bit of a disappointment as well. I don't really feel like anything happened. Through the whole book, you are just waiting for Zinkoff's big moment, and while something occurs that maybe makes things a little bit better maybe hopefully possibly, there isn't a big moment or lesson. At least none that I picked up. 

I couldn't really figure out what the moral was supposed to be. Looking at the cover, I assumed it was about someone who was bullied and then proved the bullies wrong or the bullies got in trouble or the kid is finally accepted at the end, but none of those things really happen, at least not in a big way. The ending is very subtle and not very satisfying. 

This book is just sad and kind of depressing. As a adult I didn't enjoy it. I am already depressed about so many things, I didn't need a fictional child to feel bad for as well, especially one that you continue to pity all the way to the end.

Okay read, but apparently I just didn't "get" it. A little to subtle for my taste. 

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review 2018-02-19 23:53
Maniac Magee
Maniac Magee - Jerry Spinelli

Maniac Magee is such a rich text. I remember reading this book in the fourth grade and falling in love with the characters! This book is intended for an older audience. The messages throughout touch on homelessness, racism, and death. I know that young readers will connect with Maniac, from his knot detangling abilities to his football skills - kids will want to know him! There are many excellent activities to accompany this title, but I love this one from Scholastic! Students are challenged to write a recipe for Maniac Magee based on the authors formula of "one part fact, two parts legend, and three parts snowball." 

Writing activity: https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/lesson-plans/teaching-content/maniac-magee-extension-activities/

 

Guided Reading - W

Lexile - 820L

DRA - 60

AR - 4.7

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review 2017-01-30 21:40
The Warden's Daughter
Warden's Daughter - Jerry Spinelli

I felt so alone reading this novel. Here was a twelve-year-old girl living in a county prison with her father, the Warden, crying out for help. She was surrounded by individuals yet she was all alone. The one person she wanted, she couldn’t have and the one person she could have, was emotionally not there. I felt she was drifting away, she was trying to throw out lines for others to grab but no one was reaching for them. Then, at the end of the novel, there was some saving graces but why put people through the pain so there is sunshine later.

Her mother died when she was a baby. As Cammie watches, she notices what she is missing not having a mother and now Cammie wants to find another mother. She feels the prison trustee that takes care of her father and her might be the replacement she is looking for but Eloda is not picking up on the clues that Cammie is leaving for her. Cammie becomes annoyed with her best friend when her attention strays to the boys and suddenly Reggie is interested in makeup and being seen. Cammie finds friendship in the women’s gated exercise yard at the prison. I found myself sad that she found acceptance with older women and was having a hard time being noticed at home. There were times when Cammie had friends, she was enjoying herself and the time with them but the time ended and she was alone again. I did enjoy the ending, it was amazing but I thought Cammie felt isolated and confused throughout the novel and when the ending occurred, it didn’t make it all right.

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review 2016-11-11 23:36
Maniac Magee - Jerry Spinelli

He wasn't born with the name Maniac Magee. He came into this world named Jeffrey Lionel Magee, but when his parents died and his life changed, so did his name. And Maniac Magee became a legend. Even today kids talk about how fast he could run; about how he hit an inside-the-park "frog" homer; how no knot, no matter how snarled, would stay that way once he began to untie it. But the thing Mania Magee is best known for is what he did for the kids from the East Side and those from the West Side.

He was special all right, and this is his story, and it's a story that is very careful not to let the facts get mixed up with the truth. In the end Maniac solves his problems and finds his forever home. I would use this story in a 5th-6th grade classroom to try to teach students better ways to solve there problems. It is crucial for all students, especially older ones to know that  the solution for problems is never to run away from them. My 6th grade class at Centerville Middle School are currently reading this book and they love it so much that it encouraged me to want to use it in my own classroom as well. 

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review 2016-11-11 15:08
Stargirl
Stargirl - Jerry Spinelli

This book teaches students that it is okay to be yourself and you don't have to try and fit in. This book would be great for a 4th grade class. I would have the students fill out a graphic organizer as they read the book. They could also pull out vocabulary words from the text.

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