Thank You, Mr. Falker

( 25 )

Overview

Patricia Polacco is now one of America's most loved children's book creators, but once upon a time, she was a little girl named Trisha starting school. Trisha could paint and draw beautifully, but when she looked at words on a page, all she could see was jumble. It took a very special teacher to recognize little Trisha's dyslexia: Mr. Falker, who encouraged her to overcome her reading disability. Patricia Polacco will never forget him, and neither will we.

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Overview

Patricia Polacco is now one of America's most loved children's book creators, but once upon a time, she was a little girl named Trisha starting school. Trisha could paint and draw beautifully, but when she looked at words on a page, all she could see was jumble. It took a very special teacher to recognize little Trisha's dyslexia: Mr. Falker, who encouraged her to overcome her reading disability. Patricia Polacco will never forget him, and neither will we.

This inspiring story is available in a deluxe slipcased edition, complete with a personal letter to readers from Patricia Polacco herself. Thank You, Mr. Falker will make a beautiful gift for the special child who needs encouragement&150or any special teacher who has made a difference in the child's life.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Fans of Polacco's Thundercake; Pink and Say work know well her talent for weaving her colorful family history throughout her picture books. Here Polacco shares her childhood triumph over dyslexia and discovery of reading in an inspiring if slightly formulaic story. Young Trisha is eager to taste the "sweetness of knowledge" that her grandfather has always revered here symbolized by drizzling honey onto a book and tasting it, which harkens back to Polacco's earlier The Bee Tree. But when she looks at words and numbers, everything is a jumble. Trisha endures the cruel taunts of classmates who call her "dumb," and falls behind in her studies. But finally the encouragement and efforts of a new fifth grade teacher, Mr. Falker, trigger a monumental turning point in Trisha's life. She begins to blossom and develop all of her talents, including reading. Polacco's tale is all the more heartfelt because of its personal nature. Young readers struggling with learning difficulties will identify with Trisha's situation and find reassurance in her success. Polacco's gouache-and-pencil compositions deftly capture the emotional stagesfrustration, pain, elationof Trisha's journey. Ages 5-up. Apr.
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Once again Polacco draws upon her own experiences, this time to tell the story of a young girl who suffers with a learning disability. Because she is not able to read, Trisha is taunted by her classmates and called dumb. She starts to lose confidence and thinks that perhaps she really is a dumbbell. Finally, a new sixth grade teacher, Mr. Falker, diagnoses that she has a learning disability. With his help and that of a reading teacher, Trisha finally begins to read. The warm relationship with her grandparents and her talent for drawing are showcased. What does seem a bit strange is that so many teachers did not recognize the problem, and that it was even missed by her own mother (who was also a teacher). Nonetheless, it is a moving tribute and really brings home the message that teachers can and do make a difference in their students' lives.
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
Trisha loved to draw. At school the other kids watched her perform her magic with crayons. When it came to reading, Trisha always failed. Finally, in fifth grade, Mr. Falker came into her life and helped her overcome her problem. The author writes from her personal experience about a teacher who appreciated her strengths and helped her overcome her weaknesses. We feel Trisha's pain and see her growth. The paintings are emotionally rich. A teacher can change a child's life as this inspiring story clearly demonstrates.
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Mr. Falker notices, acknowledges and names Patricia's learning difficulties with compassion. He is willing to pay for a tutor, thus unlocking the world of words for her. The book falls down in one particular way. While Polacco tells how the secret of her learning difficulties is hidden, again and again her peers mock her "dumbness." Still the book honors a fine teacher and by extension those who go above and beyond to care for their students. This serves as a tribute to her teacher, for Polacco herself was profoundly learning disabled. This would make a great teacher gift.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4Once more Polacco shares a personal story with engaging results. This moving saga of her struggle with a learning disability makes an inspiring picture book. Young Tricia wants desperately to read but when she starts school she finds that the words "wiggle" on the page. Teased by her classmates, she retreats into dreams and drawings. It's not until the family moves to California and Tricia has managed to reach the fifth grade that a new teacher finally recognizes her pain and distress. What's more, he does something about it. Without belaboring the point, the author clearly shows the ways that children internalize critical comments made by others and suffer for their differences. This touching story is accompanied by illustrations in Polacco's signature style. Youngsters, as well as adults, may find themselves choked up at the emotions so eloquently described in words and pictures. Yet, like the tears young Tricia cries at the end of the book, these are ultimately tears of joy. Thank you, indeed, Mr. Felker (the real name of the teacher involved) for making it all possible. Readers will be grateful for the chance to recognize, appreciate, and share in Polacco's talent and creativity.Lisa Dennis, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA
Kirkus Reviews
An autobiographical tribute to Polacco's fifth-grade teacher, the first adult to recognize her learning disability and to help her learn to read. Trisha begins kindergarten with high hopes, but as the years go by she becomes convinced she is dumb. She can draw well, but is desperately frustrated by math and reading. In fifth grade, Mr. Falker silences the children who taunt Trisha, and begins, with a reading teacher, to help her after school. A thank-you to a teacher who made a difference is always welcome, but this one is unbearably sentimental. Although the perspective is supposed to be Trisha's, many sentences give away the adult viewpoint, e.g., "She didn't notice that Mr. Falker and Miss Plessy had tears in their eyes." The extent to which Trisha limns her own misery and deifies Mr. Falker (complete with a classroom version of a "He who is without sin among you" scene) is mawkish. Mr. Falker's implicit sense of fairnessþ"Right from the start, it didn't seem to matter to Mr. Falker which kids were the cutest. Or the smartest. Or the best at anything"þis contradicted when Trisha is the object of praise: Mr. Falker, watching her draw, whispers, "This is brilliant absolutely brilliant. Do you know how talented you are?" Polacco's disdain for all the other teachers and the students intrudes on Trisha's more profoundly heartbreaking perspective; the book lacks the author's usual flair for making personal stories universal. (Picture book. 5-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399237324
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/28/2001
  • Edition description: SLIPCASE
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 278,142
  • Age range: 7 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.99 (w) x 11.65 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia Polacco
Patricia Polacco (www.patriciapolacco.com) is the prolific author and illustrator of over fifty picture books, including New York Times bestseller The Junkyard Wonders. An energetic and enthusiastic public speaker, she visits over 100 classrooms every year. She lives in Union City, Michigan.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 25 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(20)

4 Star

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3 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    For the troubled reader, or former troubled readers...

    This book nearly always brings me to tears. The autobiographical nature of the book, the difficulty so many children have with reading, and the portrayal of how cruel children can be all get me emotional when I read this to my class. I was a struggling reader as a child, though no one ever tormented me in a way similar to Patricia Polacco's main character. I always read this book to my class each year because of my experiences, and as a way of reassuring my students that we aren't all perfect at everything we do. I want all of my readers to feel comfortable that it's okay to struggle a bit with a text, and that they are supported in my class by all members of our learning community. I can't recommend this book highly enough.

    Thank You, Patricia Polacco for bringing a voice to so many who've struggled with reading. I'm so glad you decided to write. My own struggles inspired me to get my reading specialist credential, and a masters degree in teaching reading. I'm sure this book will inspire many more children and adults to stick with reading until it clicks for them.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2010

    Touching

    This book is about a girl who struggles with reading for longer than any teacher or parent would want to see. The illustrations show the emotions of the characters and are extremely colorful. This is a great read aloud book for children just starting out on their reading journey or children who have struggled or are still struggling. It is also a feel good book for all ages.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2008

    Mr. Falker is the best!

    Thank you Mr. Falker is about Patricia and Mr. Falker. In school Patricia has a problem. She didn't know how to read and the other kids were making fun of her. My favorite part was when she opens up a book and discovers she can read a paragraph by herself. I would recommend this book to teachers, students that struggle with reading, good readers, and fans of Patricia Polacco. This book is heart-warming. I give it 5 stars!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2007

    Gotta Read!!!!

    I thought Thank you, Mr. Falker was a great book. I wouldn't say it was a terribly sad book because it was happy at the end. It was sad when Tricia thought she was dumb. It wasn't fair for people to hurt Tricia in such a way that it would make her feel dumb. At the time in the book it made me stop and think how it would make me feel if someone called me dumb. I know I would't like it. It was amazing how Mr. Falker could help Tricia, and make her be able to read. It is so cool how Patricia Polacco started out not being able to read, and how well she writes books now. I enjoyed reading Thank you, Mr.Falker.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2007

    An EXTRAODIARY Book

    I thought this book was extraordinary. It was sad but had some good parts too. The beginning of the book was a surprise because I learned that she could not read. The middle was very sad because Trisha found out she was different from the other kids. In the end, her fifth grade teacher, Mr. Falker, helper her with reading and she never forgot what her grandpa taught her about the honey even though he went up to the stars.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2007

    A very touching book!

    I think this book was extraordinary!!! It was very powerful and it was good about describing her life as a child. Trisha, the girl in the story, had a disability so she couldn¿t read or write. Everybody teased her because of that, but later in the book she overcomes that disability with the help of her fifth grade teacher, Mr. Falker. I recommend this book to anybody that likes reading.

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

    Posted February 9, 2007

    Outstanding!!!

    This is a great book! It gives a first hand account of what it is like for a child to go through school with a reading challenge like Dyslexia. I highly recommend it for all parents to read to their children.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2007

    I cried

    I did not expect to get emotional reading this children's book to my daughter that she got from her school library. If you remember that kid that was teased or were teased yourself you will feel for this girl and the triumphant end is totally surprising.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2006

    A childhood classic for the new generation...

    A girl in my class two years ago read this book to our sixth grade class and I fell in love with it! It was really inspirational! I think that even though this is a picture book, It is as strong as the thickest novel! It really has an amazing message too!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2006

    Worth the Read

    Patricia Polacco is a master. Her stories always strike a chord in my heart, but this is especially touching as a fictionalized account of Patricia's own shame and struggle with learning disabilities. Another theme of this book not to be overlooked is the devastation of childhood bullying. A must for teachers, but wonderful for any reader of any age.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2005

    Where's the editor?

    As most people have mentioned, this book is powerful and moving. A former teacher myself, I see the value of telling a story about learning disabilities and how good teachers can help students overcome them. But with that said, the writing still isn't very good. There are many awkward passages, and Patricia Polacco immediately dates the book by setting it when it happened, however many years ago that was. Just because it's autobiographical doesn't mean it can't be modernized to appeal more strongly to today's children. The dialogue is also badly forced and rarely sounds natural. So, a mixed review is appropriate. The story is worth four or five stars, but the words themselves are worth one or two. That's a shame, because this could have been an immediate classic.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2005

    Great Teacher Book

    This is an outstanding book. My student teacher's last day with my class, we read Thank You Mr.Falker. He started to cry.I just really really love this book. Go to the library and check this book out. Hopefuly you will buy this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2004

    Good

    It was good. I enjoyed this book through the eyes of my son Ben--inspirational!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2002

    awsome

    wen i was in 5th grade we had a librarian come to our school and read to us wen she brought out the book and i saw the cover i thought omg wat does she think she is doing we are in the 5th grade not 1st and then wen i heard her read it i started to cry. U have to check out this book it is awsome. and also dont judge a book by its cover.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2002

    Thank you, Patricia Polacco

    On one of my mother's numerous visits, she insisted that we go to Barnes and Noble because I HAD to read this book by Patrica Polacco. She dragged me to the kids section (I am now 21 years old), sat me down, and stood over me while I read it. Well, the tears started to flow! The universality of her story is incredible. It applies to all ages and can inspire those having difficulty reading and those who take advantage of their skill. I have always found joy in the worlds that books create, and Thank You, Mr. Falker captures that joy vividly. Thank you, Patricia Polacco for writing this inspirational tale.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2002

    Unbelievable

    This book was given to me by my daughters principal to read. She warned me, yet I still was unprepared for the tears that I would shed. When the little girl makes it to 4th grade and is still unable to read it is heartbreaking, then when she moves and meets an amazing teacher that works with her and teaches her to read, it is heartwarming. This book was so so moving that I recommend it for anyone of any age.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2001

    Inspiration to both kids and adults

    In Patricia Palacco's Thank You, Mr. Falker the author created a story that was very heart touching. This story was one that many regardless of age could make a personal connection too. The story triggered feelings of helplessness, sadness, frustration,hope, and happiness amongst many other feelings. I found that i was able to make a persoanl connection to this story because i have had many struggles in my life that i have overcome through the guidance of believing and also support of family and friends. This story helped me to realize how important my role as a teacher in the lives of each student is. We the teachers are the molders of our Lawyers, Doctors, Presidents, Vice President, and the list goes on and on.... (Teachers Role- is just not a respected profession even though we wear many different hats in the lives of these kids.)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2001

    Patricia is an awesome writer.

    This book was read to me and the 2nd through 3rd grade staff of my school. As a teacher, myself, I feel she has captured the true essence of teaching and caring. I must say, I cried. It is a great read aloud book and one that must be added to your collection at school and at home. This one's a keeper!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2000

    Great Staff Development Book

    What a wonderful book to read to your teachers! The story of a teacher who makes a difference in the life of a struggling student. My staff loved the book - and now it will be sold out at the bookstores near our school! Try it, you'll enjoy the story for a long time to come!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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