A+ Custodian

Overview

"Mr. Carillo is our A+ Custodian!"
John Carillo, Dublin Elementary School's custodian, has a big job. He mops and sweeps, polishes and scrubs, changes lightbulbs, washes windows, fixes pipes, moves furniture, and more! The teachers, students, parents, and principal all count on Mr. Carillo, and he never lets them down.
Now his early-bird helpers, Gracie and Zach, want to do something to show Mr. Carillo how ...
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Overview

"Mr. Carillo is our A+ Custodian!"
John Carillo, Dublin Elementary School's custodian, has a big job. He mops and sweeps, polishes and scrubs, changes lightbulbs, washes windows, fixes pipes, moves furniture, and more! The teachers, students, parents, and principal all count on Mr. Carillo, and he never lets them down.
Now his early-bird helpers, Gracie and Zach, want to do something to show Mr. Carillo how important he is to them.
But showing him how much they appreciate everything he does will take lots of planning, some hard work, and the help of everyone in the whole school!
In her classic style Louise Borden brings to vivid focus one elementary school, the students and faculty who bring it to life, and the clever way they show Mr. Carillo he's their A+ custodian!

The students and teachers at Dublin Elementary School make banners, posters, and signs for their school custodian to show how much they appreciate him and all the work he does.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Mr. Carillo is the custodian at Dublin elementary school. He fixes pipes, cleans the floors, changes light bulbs, makes coffee for the teachers, and performs a myriad of other tasks. Two children, Grace and Zach, come to school early, every day, because their mother is a teacher at the school. So they begin to follow Mr. Carillo around watching his every move. After asking if they can help, they become Mr. Carrillo's assistants and help with various chores. Mr. Carillo dubs them his "Early Bird Helpers," which makes them feel special. The students and faculty feel that he is a top-notch custodian and they want to show their appreciation to him for keeping their school in tip-top shape. After a meeting, which they keep secret, they make a plan. At the beginning of the school week, Mr. Carillo arrives as usual but the children and staff surprise him with a flood of unique thank-you notes posted around the building—on the doors, on his bucket, on the banister of the stairway and in the boiler room. Through this story children can learn to appreciate and respect all of the people who make their education a wonderful experience. 2004, Margaret K. Mc Elderry Books, Ages 6 to 9.
—Leila Toledo
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Third-graders Gracie and Zach arrive at school early because their mother is a teacher. Mr. Carillo has been there since early morning, unlocking the building, turning on the heat and lights, and even making coffee in the teachers' workroom. He calls the twins the "Early Birds" and lets them help with some of the work. The children soon realize how special the friendly custodian is; he can fix anything, knows the name of every student, and even shares donuts with his two assistants. When Gracie notices the words of praise written on the students' papers displayed on the walls, she gets an idea. With the help of Zach, the principal, and her teacher, they plan a surprise for Mr. Carillo. When he opens the school, there's a banner as well as notes written by the children posted on the many things that he has cleaned or fixed: "Super! Mighty Fine! Good Effort." This tale lauds a job well done and highlights the important role of custodians. Gustavson's realistic oil paintings suggest the warmth of the building and the dark hallways in the early morning with enough generic blurred detail to keep readers focused on the people rather than the place. The story is sure to move youngsters to, as Borden suggests in her introduction, "Celebrate your custodian's hard work."-Susan Hepler, Burgundy Farm Country Day School, Alexandria, VA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
John Carillo is the custodian at Dublin Elementary and has been for many years-children can always hear the jingle of his keys. He can fix anything and solve everything as Borden enthusiastically describes. The third-grade twins Gracie and Zach get to school early, because their mom is the fifth-grade teacher, and they become Mr. Carillo's helpers. He calls them the "Early Birds." Gracie wants to find a way to show Mr. Carillo how important he is to the school and enlists first her brother and parents, then the principal, and finally the whole school in her idea. Richly colored oil paintings show archetypal school halls and byways: Mr. Carillo has a gorgeous mustache and a flannel shirt; Gracie and Zach wear their hair in dreads and cornrows. A nifty slice-of-school that children will recognize-and a terrific paean to the often-unsung heroes of upkeep and repair. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689849954
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
  • Publication date: 6/22/2004
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 787,596
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: 850L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Louise Borden graduated from Denison University with a degree in history. She taught first graders and preschoolers and later was a part-owner of a bookstore in Cincinnati, Ohio. In addition to writing children’s books, she also speaks regularly to young students about the writing process. Her books include Good Luck, Mrs. K!, which won the Christopher Medal, and The A+ Custodian. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and you can visit her at LouiseBorden.com.

Adam Gustavson is a graduate of Rowan University and the Master of Fine Arts Illustration program at the School of Visual Arts in New York. In addition to illustrating picture books, he currently teaches at Passaic County Community College and Seton Hall University. He lives and paints in West Orange, New Jersey, with his wife, their children, several guitars, and a ferret named Gracie.

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Introduction

A GUIDE FOR READING GROUPS
THE A+ CUSTODIAN

By Louise Borden

ABOUT THE BOOK

Through their early morning contact with the school custodian, Zack and Gracie learn of his commitment to his job and their school. Together they devise a plan to recognize his hard work.

THEMES

Work ethic; Craftsmanship; Careers; Recognition of work; Awards

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

- What job skills does a custodian need?

- What are the responsibilities of a custodian?

- What does the word custodian mean?

- Why did Gracie and Zack follow Mr. Carillo around the school?

- Why did Dublin School decide to honor Mr. Carillo?

ACTIVITIES

- Ask a custodian or custodial supervisor to talk with students about job requirements for a custodian. Discuss workload, hours, safety issues, areas of expertise, level of education, and additional training required.

- Initiate a discussion with students about respect for work done in various other departments of the school (food service, transportation, office staff, health services, as well as custodial).

- Utilize another title from the list below and compare/contrast the point of view of the main character(s) to Zack and Gracie in The A+ Custodian. Repeat the compare/contrast activity for the value placed on the work done by custodial staff.

Custodians by Debbie Yanuck
Custodian from the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler
The Janitor's Boy by Andrew Clements
Feet in the Gym by Teri Daniels

FOLLOW UP

Allow students to plan and execute a recognition day for custodial and/or other support staff.

Please visithttp://www.emporia.edu/libsv/wawbookaward/ for more information about the awards and to see curriculum guides for other master list titles.

This reading group guide is for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.

Prepared by Pansy Fryman

© William Allen White Children's Book Award

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Reading Group Guide

A GUIDE FOR READING GROUPS
THE A+ CUSTODIAN

By Louise Borden

ABOUT THE BOOK

Through their early morning contact with the school custodian, Zack and Gracie learn of his commitment to his job and their school. Together they devise a plan to recognize his hard work.

THEMES

Work ethic; Craftsmanship; Careers; Recognition of work; Awards

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

- What job skills does a custodian need?

- What are the responsibilities of a custodian?

- What does the word custodian mean?

- Why did Gracie and Zack follow Mr. Carillo around the school?

- Why did Dublin School decide to honor Mr. Carillo?

ACTIVITIES

- Ask a custodian or custodial supervisor to talk with students about job requirements for a custodian. Discuss workload, hours, safety issues, areas of expertise, level of education, and additional training required.

- Initiate a discussion with students about respect for work done in various other departments of the school (food service, transportation, office staff, health services, as well as custodial).

- Utilize another title from the list below and compare/contrast the point of view of the main character(s) to Zack and Gracie in The A+ Custodian. Repeat the compare/contrast activity for the value placed on the work done by custodial staff.

Custodians by Debbie Yanuck
Custodian from the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler
The Janitor's Boy by Andrew Clements
Feet in the Gym by Teri Daniels

FOLLOW UP

Allow students to plan and execute a recognition day for custodial and/or other support staff.

Please visit http://www.emporia.edu/libsv/wawbookaward/ for more information about the awards and to see curriculum guides for other master list titles.

This reading group guide is for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.

Prepared by Pansy Fryman

© William Allen White Children's Book Award

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