|written by Candace Fleming
Welcome back to Mr. Jupiter’s inimitable class at Aesop Elementary. His rambunctious, special students are fifth graders now .. and they rule the school! Bernadette Braggadoccio stirs things up when her probing investigative reporting for the school’s TV station reveals some scandalous stuff. But ... don't believe everything you hear. Is that new art teacher really a crazy lady with zillions of cats, or could there be more to this story?
For their last year at Aesop, the fifth graders are hoping for the coolest class pet—a unicorn, a pink-headed duck, or at least a giant squid. Imagine their disappointment when they get guinea pigs. But ... appearances can be deceiving. These guinea pigs have some very unusual traits.
So whether readers knew Mr. Jupiter’s class back in fourth grade or are new to Aesop Elementary, they'll be chomping at the bit to join these fabled fifth graders for the zaniest school year ever.
Awards and Honors
Chicago Public Library Best of the Best 2010
Parents' Choice Recommended Book
Read the Reviews
… [M]iddle readers will find lively humor, a bit of romance, and a boat load of cliches. It is a quick, fun read. Youngsters can relate to diverse personalities as Mr. Jupiter reinforces the idea that fables indeed teach important life lessons. Graduation day becomes an exciting celebration showcasing individual talents since their infamous teacher lavishes praise during an awards ceremony. Rachel Piffle is pleased to be given the “Most Eloquent Use of Monosyllables” award. Calvin Tallywong receives the Dodecahedron Award for Advanced Mathematical Studies. A fanciful tale does capture light-hearted moments alongside more serious dilemmas common to upper elementary students.
The reputation of the fifth graders of Aesop Elementary School precedes them and no one wants to teach this rowdy group. Luckily, Mr. Jupiter, their intrepid, world-traveling, fourth-grade teacher, is willing to step up to the challenge. As the other teachers breathe sighs of relief, Mr. Jupiter revels in exposing this exuberant group to unusual and exciting information. From singing Burmese guinea pigs to ancient texts such as The Babylonian Book of Babble, which actually produces a thunderstorm, Mr. Jupiter has all that it takes to keep their attention. Just when it seems that the over-the-top silliness and slapstick humor are going to overtake the story, the chaos is put into perspective by a moral at the end of each chapter. These morals highlight a lesson learned by the class or, in some cases, a particular student, and provide readers with the realization that something special and noteworthy has taken place. Kids will appreciate the teacher's efforts on his students' behalf and wish they had one like him. Suggest this title for reluctant readers and those who enjoy the humor of Sarah Weeks's Oggie Cooder (Scholastic, 2008) and Dan Gutman's “My Weird School Daze” books (HarperCollins).