Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Justin Fisher Declares War Good in So Many Ways

So I'm back for a short time, everyone returned safe and sound from my second trip to Boston and in two days I leave for my annual golf trip to Michigan, or as I like to call it Dads' Camp. I won't be reading anything there, but I managed to read James Preller's new book Justin Fisher Declares War. For all of you recent readers of Literate Lives, James, or Jimmy is a friend of our blog and Karen and I so I was thrilled when he sent me a copy of his new book, autographed too! Here are several reasons I really like Justin Fisher Declares War:

1. It's short! Only 135 pages but so much is packed into those pages! It will be easy to convince my students to pick it up because they won't be intimidated by the size. I'm really starting to look for titles that are 200 pages or less.

2. It has some familiar characters. Trey and Spider from Along Came Spider are back in cameo roles. Kids like catching up with characters from other books, that's why series are so popular. James brings these two memorable characters back to interact with Justin Fisher, class clown.

3. It has a reading pit and a male librarian! WOO HOO!

4. It has lessons that can be taught through read aloud. I know class clowns everywhere who are struggling with the fact that they are losing friends because everyone is growing tired of their constant joking will see themselves. Hopefully it will lead them to reinvent themselves without changing completely, just like Justin Fisher.

5. It has a new teacher and an old teacher interacting with the old teacher sharing the age old advice "never let them see you smile." Obviously I don't agree with this philosophy, but it's such a classic. I loved it when the new teacher, Mr. Tripp, finds success with Justin when he chooses to ignore it.

6. As with all James Preller books, it has great characters interacting with each other.

7. It will appeal to all 4th and 5th graders.

As I was reading I realized that I have never created a mosaic for any of James Preller's book and since I love his stuff and he's a friend, I thought it was about time. So here it is.


  1. Hey partner - I'm trying not to be envious of your autographed book. :) Sounds like a book I need to read, especially before publishing my list of possible read alouds for next year. Have a great time golfing!

  2. I have just begun following your blog this summer and love it!!! I am really jealous of the mosaics you create and want to know how to do this. I know my students would really enjoy this as we read during the school year. Can you help?

  3. CStakey: I use Flickr to collect the pictures and use BigHugeLabs to create the mosaic. It's really very simple and fun. I haven't tried it with my students because I'm still looking for good picture collections that are accessible to my students.

  4. Ha, love the mosaic, Bill! I also like the list approach to your review, nice touch.

    Thanks for reading JUSTIN FISHER.