Tarantula Power!

Overview

Richard is excited about the "Invent a Cereal" class project, but he's not so excited about having Kevin, the school bully, for his partner. Inspired by the class pet, a tarantula, Richard works hard on his Crunchy Critters cereal. He thinks it's sure to top his classmates' projects, even if he does have to do all the work himself. And when he decides to stand up to Kevin on behalf of a frightened second grader, Richard worries that the project, and his well-being, might suffer the consequences. But all's fair in...
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Overview

Richard is excited about the "Invent a Cereal" class project, but he's not so excited about having Kevin, the school bully, for his partner. Inspired by the class pet, a tarantula, Richard works hard on his Crunchy Critters cereal. He thinks it's sure to top his classmates' projects, even if he does have to do all the work himself. And when he decides to stand up to Kevin on behalf of a frightened second grader, Richard worries that the project, and his well-being, might suffer the consequences. But all's fair in cereal and war, and it's Tarantula Power to the rescue!
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Jean Boreen
When Mrs. Steele asks her class to "invent a cereal" as a class project, Richard is sure that he has the best idea, as well as the knowledge to make his project the best. However, his enthusiasm is tempered when Mrs. Steele pairs him with the class bully, Kevin, and instructs them to work together on a variety of assignments. The situation worsens when Richard realizes that Kevin is picking on bespectacled second-grader Sam. Richard decides that he is going to help Sam gain the courage to stand up to Kevin, and he uses the class tarantula, Ruby, to help Sam do it. The results are both educational and hilarious, especially when Sam and Richard trick Kevin into eating brownies with crickets cooked into them. The black and white illustrations throughout the story give wonderful life to the individual characters—as well as to the tarantula! The characters help bring home the point that individuals can learn to stand up for themselves and that bullies can learn the error of their ways. There is also a lot of fun and useful information about insects in the book that will make this book appeal to young readers. This is a solid choice for librarians and teachers who are looking for a way to broach the subject of bullying with their students.
School Library Journal

Gr 2-4
Richard is a mature fourth grader with a sense of humor. For a class project on nutrition, he is paired with Kevin, whose behavior is obnoxious. In a refreshing twist on the bullying theme, Richard interferes when Kevin picks on Sam, a second grader. He tries to protect the younger boy by tricking Kevin, which doesn't work, but does provide a funny episode. With a little guidance from his teacher, he realizes that Sam's lack of self-confidence fits hand-in-glove with Kevin's meanness. When that is addressed, everyone grows, even readers. The convincing dialogue is crammed with interesting facts about nutrition, insects, and the classroom tarantula. The characters and the plot develop at a quick and mostly believable pace. Black-and-white wash illustrations match the action and give the book appeal for reluctant readers.
—June WolfeCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Fourth-grader Richard is paired up with bully Kevin on a science project. Their challenge? Invent a new cereal-and make it nutritious! Of course, Richard ends up doing all the work and hating every "partner learning" moment. The project is not the only thing weighing on Richard's mind. When Richard decides to protect one of the bully's second-grade victims, he needs more than brawn. He needs cunning, an understanding of the bully brain and one bug-filled brownie. That teaches the lunch-stealing bully a lesson, but things get even more complicated after that. Small, too-infrequent pencil illustrations help move the story along. While the second grader, who refers to Kevin as "the bad guy" for entirely too long, seems unnaturally young and the anti-bully curricular connections too obvious, young readers might find a few valuable social strategies here. Readers who are ready for a new challenge after Jigsaw Jones will find this a comfortable fit. (Fiction. 7-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823419913
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/28/2007
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 1,480,800
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: 550L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.54 (w) x 8.58 (h) x 0.56 (d)

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