Title: Ready, Freddy! Homework Hassles
Author: Abby Klein
Illustrator: John McKinley
Publisher & Publication Date: The Blue Sky Press, 2004
Genre: Chapter book, fiction
Grade Level: 1-3
Summary: Freddy Thrasher is a first grade student that has been facing with a problem. His teacher wants everyone in the class to do a report on a nocturnal animal, but he can't think of any animal to research. His best friend Robbie talks Freddy into having a sleepover so that they can stay up all night and see what it is like to be nocturnal. They sneak out of the house once everyone is asleep and start investigating in the back yard. Freddy climbs up a tree and falls out and breaks his arm. The whole family has to go to the hospital and they are there until four in the morning. He thinks it is great having his arm broken because everyone is doing things for him. He then finds out that he still has to do his report on the nocturnal animal because it is an oral report not a written. So he goes to Robbie's house after school for help because he is super smart and has his own computer. Robbie's mom ends up giving Freddy the idea for his report because she called him a bat. He researches bats and practices his report on his mom and sister and then gives it at school the next day.
Response: I think this is a great beginning chapter book for first graders. It is about a class of first graders therefore if a beginning reader read this book they could relate to the story. I like how it talks about the stress Freddy feels when he finds out he has to do the report and how he deals with it. There were some single-page illustrations but they were produced with pencil and were not that elaborate. The word fin is in every illustration and it was fun looking for that every time I came across them. This cute little chapter book made me happy to read. I would consider it a pick-me-up story. I really enjoyed it!
Teaching Ideas: This would be a good book to use to talk about stress that students might feel when they are given certain assignments. It would tie in with the health topic of coping with stress. You could talk about how he dealt with the assignment and breaking his arm then ask them to write about a time that they were under stress and how they dealt with it. This could be a simple journal activity.