Fourth-Grade Fuss

( 1 )

Overview

Yard sales, ice-skating, and surprise parties are just a few of the things that make fourth grade fun. But Julio and his friends know it’s time to get serious when the class begins preparing for the big statewide test at the end of the year. Just thinking about it is enough to give anybody a stomachache!

Julio and his best friend, Lucas, are going to try every superstition in the book to make sure they pass. They’ll wear their underwear inside out, use brand-new pencils, and ...

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Overview

Yard sales, ice-skating, and surprise parties are just a few of the things that make fourth grade fun. But Julio and his friends know it’s time to get serious when the class begins preparing for the big statewide test at the end of the year. Just thinking about it is enough to give anybody a stomachache!

Julio and his best friend, Lucas, are going to try every superstition in the book to make sure they pass. They’ll wear their underwear inside out, use brand-new pencils, and even—gulp—study. But when test day comes, Julio finds out there are some surprises no one can prepare for!

Whether one has read about Julio and Lucas and their other classmates before in class clown and class president or this is the first meeting, here is a story that will strike a familiar chord. With the warmth and realism she is known for, beloved author Johanna Hurwitz brings us the hardships and humor of Julio Sanchez’s fourth-grade year.

A yard sale, ice skating, class pictures, and a surprise party are a few of the things that make fourth grade fun for Julio and his friends, but they must get serious about studying as the statewide end-of-year test approaches.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The kids from Class Clown, Fourth-Grade Fuss by Johanna Hurwitz, illus. by Andy Hammond, finds Julio, Cricket and Lucas navigating typical school events, including a statewide standardized test, an ice-skating party and school picture day. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The big fuss in Julio Sanchez's fourth-grade class is over the fact that, for the first time, they will be taking statewide standardized tests. Perfect-student Cricket is worried that Mrs. Schraalenburgh isn't doing enough drill to prepare them "to do as well as the other kids" on the tests. But Julio knows that for Cricket this means, "better than the other kids." Julio himself is just worried about passing: what if he has to repeat fourth grade? Julio's older brother, Ramon, is stressed over a test of his own, when he fails his first try at passing the driver's exam. And Julio's ailing grandmother needs to have a battery of medical tests. Tests, tests, everywhere! But fourth grade also has the fun of a class skating party, a friend's garage sale, trading clothes for the school photo, and Julio's first birthday party ever—a predictable (to the reader), but absolutely heartwarming and delightful surprise party. Hurwitz manages to take on the controversial topic of standardized testing without preaching for or against the merits of the tests, but instead sympathetically treating the various ways in which different children experience the tests in their own lives. Julio's affectionate, Hispanic, relatively poor family is portrayed with remarkable tenderness: it's a pleasure to spend time in the company of siblings who actually don't mind showing their clear and abundant love for each other. Likewise, it's a treat to get to know Julio's kind and caring teacher and likeable cast of classmates. Hurwitz couldn't score more highly on this one. 2004, HarperCollins, Ages 8 to 12.
—Claudia Mills
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-The characters from Hurwitz's popular Class Clown (HarperCollins, 1987) are back. Julio Sanchez is worried about being ready for the statewide standardized tests. His stomach hurts at test time, which turns out to be appendicitis. His friend Lucas offers him a cheat sheet but Julio finds out that the make-up test will be different and so he doesn't have to wrestle with his conscience. His teacher reassures him that tests get to the truth, and he simply needs to do his personal best. Each vignettelike chapter provides additional nicely tied-together subplots about a garage sale, an ice-skating party, and Julio's birthday. The secondary characters are well developed and successfully integrated into the story line. This believable family deals with realistic issues such as Ramon's driver's license exam and Grandma's medical procedures. Black line cartoons break up the text. This is an excellent addition for chapter-book readers, especially those who are preoccupied with standardized tests.-Sharon R. Pearce, Chippewa Elementary School, Bensenville, IL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060523435
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/10/2004
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 420,514
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 750L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Johanna Hurwitz is the award-winning author of more than sixty popular books for young readers, including Faraway Summer; Dear Emma; Elisa Michaels, Bigger & Better; Class Clown; Fourth-Grade Fuss; and Rip-Roaring Russell, an American Library Association Notable Book. Her work has won many child-chosen state awards. A former school librarian, she frequently visits schools around the country to talk about her books. Mrs. Hurwitz and her husband divide their time between Great Neck, New York, and Wilmington, Vermont.

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Table of Contents

1 Welcome to Fourth Grade 1
2 Tests, Tests, Tests 10
3 The Garage Sale 19
4 December Break 34
5 Five Pounds of Sugar 44
6 Ramon's Test 52
7 Practice Tests 62
8 Say "Cheese" 69
9 Happy Birthday, Julio 79
10 The Big Day 94
11 Visitors and Jelly Beans 108
12 An Unexpected Vacation 117
13 The Makeup Test 125
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First Chapter

Fourth-Grade Fuss

Chapter One

Welcome to Fourth Grade

Julio Sanchez was really glad to be in the same fourth-grade class as his pal Lucas Cott. Lucas was very smart and he was also very funny. It was impossible to sit in a classroom with Lucas and not double over with laughter at least once, or maybe even twice a day. Lucas always did or said something really crazy. As far as Julio was concerned, being in the same class as Lucas was funnier than any comedy program on TV.

One morning soon after the new school year began, Lucas realized he'd forgotten to do his homework. Instead of just admitting it and promising to be better prepared in the future, Lucas put on a whole show for the class.

He fell to the floor with a loud clatter. "I bumped my head," he moaned as he stood up. "Where am I? I think I have a concussion." He paused for a moment. "I also have amnesia."

"I doubt it," said their teacher, Mrs. Schraalenburgh. "Get in your seat and take out your homework," she told him.

Lucas looked around. "Which seat is mine?" he asked one of the girls who was sitting nearby.

Everyone started laughing because they knew Lucas was just pretending. And Julio watched his friend with amazement. He didn't know how Lucas managed to keep a straight face. Lucas would probably make a great actor when he grew up. He was a great actor already.

Mrs. Schraalenburgh came over and took Lucas by the arm. She moved him toward his seat. "Does it look familiar?" she asked him.

"Where am I?" Lucas asked again. "Is this a school?"

"Not only is this a school," Mrs. Schraalenburgh told him, "but if you don't sit in your seat and behave, I'm afraid I'll have to send you down to the principal's office."

"To Mr. Herbertson?" asked Lucas, forgetting that he had amnesia.

"The very one," said the teacher.

No one wanted to be sent to the principal's office. Not even Lucas. But for the rest of the morning, Julio grinned whenever he thought of his friend pretending not to know where he was.

On the following Saturday, Julio went with Lucas to see a World War II film at the local movie house. When the picture was over and they left the theater, Lucas spoke with a phony German accent as the boys walked home. It sounded hilarious to Julio. But it was even funnier when Lucas answered questions in hisnewly acquired German accent on Monday morning at school.

At first Mrs. Schraalenburgh tried to ignore Lucas's behavior. But finally she said to him, "Lucas, did you have sauerbraten for dinner last night?"

"Vas is dat? Zauerbraten?" Lucas asked in his imitation German voice.

"That is what you'll find out and write a report on for tomorrow," the teacher responded. To help him, she wrote the word on the chalkboard.

And so on Tuesday, Lucas came to school with an extra homework assignment.

Cricket Kaufman was in their class too. Julio had been in classes with Cricket since he moved to town when he was in second grade. Cricket was perfect, which was bad enough. But to make matters worse, Cricket knew she was perfect and showed off a lot. When Lucas got the extra sauerbraten assignment, Cricket brought in a recipe for the dish the next day. That's how everyone in the class learned that it was a traditional German meal, sort of like pot roast. Only according to Cricket's recipe, the gravy was made of sour cream and ground gingersnap cookies. It sounded odd and made everyone laugh. But Julio would have been willing to try it if it was ever served for lunch in the school cafeteria. Anyhow, it was just like Cricket to do Lucas's homework and to do it better than he did.

Still, now that they were in fourth grade, both Lucas and Cricket began to change. Lucas clowned around a bit less. And Cricket began to act differently too. She gradually seemed more like a human being and not a perfectly programmed robot student who did everything better than everyone else. Julio liked Mrs. Schraalenburgh, his fourth-grade teacher. The name was a mouthful and the spelling was worse. There was a school rumor that only the brightest students were put into Mrs. Schraalenburgh's class each year. Who else would be able to say and spell that difficult name? So when Julio had first discovered that he was in her section of fourth grade, he worried that a mistake had been made. No one would ever say that Julio was one of the smarter students in his grade.

Everyone knew that this was the year that all the students took the statewide standardized tests in math and language skills. When they were younger, fourth grade seemed so far away. Julio and his friends had tiptoed past the fourth-grade classrooms each spring and looked in awe at the signs posted on the doors:

Quiet please.
...
Test in progress.

And they had felt a great relief that they were not sitting behind those closed doors, chewing on pencils while they racked their brains for the correct answers.

Once during the summer between third and fourth grade, when Lucas and Julio were playing together, Lucas had mentioned the forthcoming tests. "My mom says not to worry about them," Lucas had told his friend. "She says I'll do just fine."

Julio's mom never talked about the tests at all. She probably didn't know they existed. When Julio's older brothers, Ramon and Nelson, were in fourth grade, the family hadn't lived in this community, not even in this state. Nowadays Mrs. Sanchez was head chambermaid at Sycamore Shade Motor Inn. Even though she had to work hard doing her own duties and supervising the other chambermaids, it was the best-paying job she'd ever had, so she was very pleased. Since Julio's father was no longer alive, his mother had to support the family.

Fourth-Grade Fuss. Copyright © by Johanna Hurwitz. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2008

    A reviewer

    I would highly reccomend this book. I love the names and their problems. It was an awesome book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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