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Junkyard Wonders

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Overview

When young Trisha finds out her class at the new school is known as "The Junkyard," she is devastated. She moved from her old town so she wouldn't be in a special class anymore! But then she meets her teacher, the quirky and invincible Mrs. Peterson, and her classmates, an oddly brilliant group of students each with his or her own unique talent. And it is here in The Junkyard that Trisha learns the true meaning of genius, and that this group of misfits are, in fact, wonders, all...

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Overview

When young Trisha finds out her class at the new school is known as "The Junkyard," she is devastated. She moved from her old town so she wouldn't be in a special class anymore! But then she meets her teacher, the quirky and invincible Mrs. Peterson, and her classmates, an oddly brilliant group of students each with his or her own unique talent. And it is here in The Junkyard that Trisha learns the true meaning of genius, and that this group of misfits are, in fact, wonders, all of them.

Based on a real-life event in Patricia Polacco's childhood, this ode to teachers will inspire all readers to find their inner genius.
 

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
As in Thank You, Mr. Falker, Polacco examines her childhood, her confused awareness of herself and her schoolmates as different--"retards," according to their common nemesis--and her teacher, an imposing and passionate woman who changes their lives. Mrs. Parkinson makes her mark immediately in a class of children who involuntarily shout (Gibbie, who has Tourette's), do not speak (Ravanne, a foster child), or don't seem able to learn fast enough (Polacco herself). Stung when the "normal" kids call their class "the junkyard," the students accompany Mrs. Parkinson to a real junkyard, where she urges them to find treasures and build something new: "Forget what the object was... imagine what it could be!" Like her earlier autobiographical stories, this tale of Polacco's group and of the model plane they restore ("This baby is goin' all the way to the moon!") thrills, saddens, touches, and inspires, all at once. The death of their kindest classmate and loyal guardian, Jody, whose too-rapid growth defeats his heart, is the most difficult moment in this complex and deeply felt book. Not to be missed. Ages 6-9. (July)
Booklist
Polacco’s inspiring story will touch children and teachers alike, especially those in “special” classes.
Children's Literature - Paula McMillen
Based on the author's own childhood experience, this story will affirm children who are labeled as different and perhaps inspire the rest to look with different eyes. Wanting to escape the stigma of being in special classes, our young protagonist lobbies to live with her dad and grandmother for a year so she can attend a new school where classmates do not already know about her reading problems. But on the very first day of school, she is confronted with prejudice as she is sent to the "junkyard" where all the different kids go. The "junkyard" kids aren't "allowed" to sit with the other students at lunch and are bullied on the playground. However, their teacher, Mrs. Peterson, sees something wondrous in each and every one and by the time the science fair rolls around, these differently-abled students get to demonstrate their special gifts to the whole school. Because the children's issues range from Tourette's to dyslexia to selective mutism and even growth hormone disorders, there is diversity represented even within the diversity of special and gifted students. There is a short afterword by the author that describes some of the adult accomplishments of Polacco's own "tribe" of friends. Use this resource to stimulate discussions of diversity, bullying, stereotyping and/or self-esteem. Text is enhanced by full-color, page-and-a-half illustrations by the author. Reviewer: Paula McMillen, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 3–5—Based on true events, this inspiring story celebrates the extraordinary influence a teacher can have on her students. As Trisha enters a new school in Michigan, she hopes she won't be relegated to a "special" class. At her old school, she had trouble learning to read. On the first day, she is disappointed to learn that Room 206 is known as the junkyard. Fortunately, their teacher, Mrs. Peterson, doesn't allow her students to feel like misfits. She divides her "Junkyard Wonders" into tribes, creating a sense of unity among them. One day, the children visit a local junkyard where they discover "a place full of wondrous possibilities" and collect objects for a class project. Trisha and her tribe retrieve an old model plane, which they refurbish. The whole class looks forward to the science fair when they will fly the plane from the roof of the school in remembrance of a classmate who has died. The school bully tries to foil their plans, but in the end the Junkyard Wonders launch the plane and watch it soar up into the stratosphere. The touching story is accompanied by Polacco's trademark illustrations in which a motherly Mrs. Peterson presides over her busy classroom. The children's expressive faces convey their devotion to her and to each other. Pair this title with Lester L. Laminack's Saturdays and Teacakes (Peachtree, 2004), another nod to a fondly remembered past.—Linda L. Walkins, Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Brighton, MA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399250781
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/8/2010
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 34,183
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: 660L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.74 (w) x 11.24 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia Polacco
Patricia Polacco lives in Union City, Michigan.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 4, 2010

    Great Book!

    This wonderful story should be read to every child! Everyone is unique and a junkyard wonder in their own way. Fabulous illustrations in Patricia Polacco's great style!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 19, 2012

    An extraordinary book that will empower ALL children!

    This amazing book can be considered the sequel to "Thank You Mr. Falker" by the great Patricia Polacco. It follows the autobiographical Tricia the following year, when she attends a new school and is placed in a special education class. Though the children are shunned by other members of the school community and their class is called the "junkyard," their teacher makes them see the potential and possibilities in who they are and how they can follow their dreams. The book has sad moments as one of the students dies as a result of a physical disability, but the end of the book is so powerful and moving that it should be required reading for all teachers and older students. Highly recommended as a read aloud in the classroom and at home especially for the teachers and parents of special needs children, but you do not need to have children to appreciate the impact of this outstanding piece of children's literature.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2012

    A Must Read for Teachers!

    A great story of the impact of a teacher on her students

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    Gift for granddaughter

    My 8-year old granddaughter asked for books by Polacco. I bought the book as a gift for her. I chose this one because I am a retired learning disabilities teacher.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2010

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    Posted December 27, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2010

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews

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