Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

The Fabled Fifth Graders Of Aesop Elementary School

The Fabled Fifth Graders Of Aesop Elementary School

Fall 2010 Fiction
Ages: 7 - 11 yrs.
Author: Candace Fleming
ISBN: 9780375863349
Hardcover Price: $15.99

Here is a zany cast of characters, a delightfully fun school, a running list of literary treats. From her character names -- Rose Clutterdorf is messy, Leonard Wittier is funny - to back cover book blurbs from Bigfoot ("Grrrr! Arrgh!") and Plato, Fleming's story twinkles.

No one wants to teach the rambunctious fifth grade class returning from Fleming's equally charming predecessor, The Fabled Fourth Graders of Aesop Elementary School. Only the crazy Mr. Jupiter, a delightful character, will take the job. He spent his summer spelunking in Zanzibar and discovering a new species of blind cave slug, among other things, and shows up the first day of school in an authentic Aztec headdress. What's more, he's discreetly courting the sweet librarian Ms. Turner.

Each chapter is written as both adventure and fable, with a corresponding moral. When Ms. Bozzatto's cat, Mr. Pickles, disappears and is found asleep in the guinea pig cage with the guinea pigs dancing on his pillow. The children scratch their heads and the moral is, "Many of life's mysteries remain unexplained."

The story speeds through a number of different school escapades -- as well as the innovative methods of Aesop's teachers -- and winds up at a touching end-of-year graduation for the fifth grade class. Mr. Jupiter, after handing out individual awards written on papyrus scrolls from a sacred temple, tells his students that adventure isn't just climbing exotic mountains, it's the people you take the journey with, too. The final fable sums the story up perfectly: "Do boldly what you do at all."

Teresa DiFalco   ©2010 Parents' Choice
Teresa DiFalco is an award-winning ghostwriter, writer, and mother in Vancouver, Washington. She's been a contributing editor for Parents' Choice for over ten years. She's a strong speller, a menace at badminton, and makes a decent soufflé.

Look for this product at:
Random House Children's Books / Schwartz and Wade Books

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