The Defense of Thaddeus A. Ledbetter

( 9 )

Overview

Designed like a case file, chock-full of notes, journal entries, letters, e-mails, illustrations, and more, The Defense of Thaddeus A. Ledbetter is a hilarious middle-grade novel that argues why Thaddeus should be released from his in-school suspension and explains the unbelievable circumstances that led to his punishment. Like Adrian Mole and the Great Brain, Thaddeus is a too-smart-for-his-own-good hero. Soon readers will be chanting, “Free Thaddeus!”

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Overview

Designed like a case file, chock-full of notes, journal entries, letters, e-mails, illustrations, and more, The Defense of Thaddeus A. Ledbetter is a hilarious middle-grade novel that argues why Thaddeus should be released from his in-school suspension and explains the unbelievable circumstances that led to his punishment. Like Adrian Mole and the Great Brain, Thaddeus is a too-smart-for-his-own-good hero. Soon readers will be chanting, “Free Thaddeus!”

Praise for The Defense of Thaddeus A. Ledbetter

"This original and entertaining book, with its smarty-pants narrator and case-file format, will draw comparisons to the Wimpy Kid series." —Booklist 

"It won't take long for readers to realize that Thaddeus is as weird and annoying as the students and faculty think he is, but there is something endearing about him, too, as readers will glean from the lively assemblage of documents." -Kirkus Reviews

"Hilarious situations told by a memorable narrator in a unique format." -VOYA 

"It has the same sassy, irreverent spirit as Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid series but will appeal to a slightly older crowd. The format makes it an enjoyable choice for everyone, including reluctant readers." -School Library Journal 

"It won't take long for readers to realize that Thaddeus is as weird and annoying as the students and faculty think he is, but there is something endearing about him, too, as readers will glean from the lively assemblage of documents." -Kirkus Reviews 

"Readers who lean toward graphic novels will appreciate the unconventional format and look of this book." -Library Media Connection

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Thaddeus A. Ledbetter is a middle-schooler who has been unjustly imprisoned. Well, not exactly imprisoned, but relegated to the outcast society of in-school suspension. To extract himself from this shameful sentence, detail-oriented Thaddeus has amassed a case file of notes, letters, emails, annotated drawings, journal entries, and other exhibits in his defense. This ingeniously constructed paperback "defense brief" draws you in and then nearly drowns you in giggles.

Children's Literature - Patricia Williamson
Thaddeus A. Ledbetter, a twelve-year-old student at Crooked Creek Middle School, has been sent to in-school suspension (ISS), even though he vehemently believes the degree of punishment far exceeds the crime. This book will keep readers smiling and laughing and (if they are young and creative) thinking from the first page to the last. From his "incarceration" in the ISS room, Thaddeus creates his defense, arguing each point of the case for which he was given the rest of the year in the ISS room. He enlists his uncle, a lawyer, to be his attorney. Through their email interactions, readers will discover that Thaddeus has his own set of issues to deal with outside of school, and though these don't seem to be interfering with his schoolwork, they most definitely influence his personal decisions. As readers are drawn into this case file for Thaddeus' defense, they will realize he has a fantastically large and inventive imagination; a sense of urgency to find out the result of his thinking will grow. The revelation of what the True Emergency Drill involved shows much of Thaddeus' personality, genuine concern for others and intelligence. The last entry is quite a paradox and should not be read early. It will bring pleasure to the readers. Reviewer: Patricia Williamson
VOYA - Amanda MacGregor
In January of his seventh-grade year, twelve-year-old Thaddeus lands himself in in-school suspension for the remainder of the school year. In trouble with his school, church, neighbors, and Boy Scout troop, Thaddeus uses his time in suspension to pen detailed missives in his own defense. Whip-smart Thaddeus addresses most of these letters to his school principal, urging him to see how Thaddeus was only trying to help out and did not intend all of the negative consequences that came with each of his plans. Whether accidentally setting his pastor on fire or provoking a riot at his school, Thaddeus adamantly contends that all he is ever trying to do is improve efficiency and help people be prepared for anything. In memos, letters, lists, illustrations, e-mails, and journal entries, Thaddeus builds a case for his innocence while outlining just how much damage he has caused. Despite the trouble Thaddeus creates, he genuinely wants to help out, although the reasoning behind his obsession with preparedness is buried deep in the notes from his principal. Reluctant readers may like the action-packed plot, but the lack of linear narrative often gets in the way of the story. With so many notes and tangents interspersed, the main story line of each chapter is difficult to follow. If readers can get beyond the chaotic set-up, they will be rewarded with hilarious situations told by a memorable narrator in a unique format. Reviewer: Amanda MacGregor
Kathryn Fry
If you are looking for the definition of a word, trying to remember the lyrics to a blues song, or wanting to rethink the layout of a school bus, then Thaddeus A. Ledbetter is the person to go to. In this story, Thaddeus Ledbetter sets out to defend his actions that have led to In-School Suspension for the rest of the year. Thaddeus finds ISS to be extremely boring but useful. He uses the time to take action to defend his purpose behind The True Emergency Drill, and create greater efficiency in the world. John Gosselink uses a unique page layout to create the feeling of a student file and uses different fonts and illustrations to portray the tone and voice of various characters within the story. Mr. Cooper, Uncle Pete, and AAlison have the most contact with Thaddeus and ultimately contribute to his defense strategies and confinement. Reviewer: Kathryn Fry
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Thaddeus Ledbetter has gotten himself into a lot of trouble by staging an unauthorized safety drill at Crooked Creed Middle School. The consequence of his behavior is a yearlong, in-school suspension, which takes place in isolation with one tired teacher's aide for supervision. This gives Thaddeus much time to prepare his defense, the result of which is this humorous, over-the-top account of his misdeeds. The unauthorized safety drill was only one of several incidents involving the school. Besides these antics, Thaddeus is constantly trying to improve his principal's management skills and the teaching techniques of the faculty. Thaddeus's demands for improvements and, at times, spot-on advice and suggestions, make this an entertaining read. Kids will root for him on as they identify with his frustrations, such as an outdated grading system and teachers spending more time on lesson plans than on teaching. As the real story subtly evolves, it becomes evident that the boy's concern for disaster training is related to his father's recent death from cancer. The story is delivered through letters, notes, school reports, clever illustrations, and journal entries. It has the same sassy, irreverent spirit as Jeff Kinney's "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series (Abrams) but will appeal to a slightly older crowd. The format, though at times purposely distracting, makes it an enjoyable choice for everyone, including reluctant readers.—Tina Martin, Arlington Heights Memorial Library, IL
Kirkus Reviews

Twelve-year-old Thaddeus A. Ledbetter has landed himself in In-School Suspension for the rest of the school year for performing his own safety drill at Crooked Creek Middle School. Feeling that typical fire drills don't really test preparedness for real-life emergencies, he devised a drill that involved a killer-bee alert, pulling the fire alarm and shouting about old people driving cars into the school, and the response included seven police cars, three fire trucks and several pest-control vehicles. Gosselink's debut novel is Thaddeus's defense of himself, typed on the school's laptop, mixed with letters to and from friends and relatives, notes from the principal, diagrams, helpful advice for running the school more efficiently and "Fun Facts," which are often definitions and derivations of words he uses from his extensive vocabulary. It won't take long for readers to realize that Thaddeus is as weird and annoying as the students and faculty think he is, but there is something endearing about him, too, as readers will glean from the lively assemblage of documents. (Fiction. 10-14)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810989771
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/1/2010
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 994,734
  • Age range: 10 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 970L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

John Gosselink is an English teacher who has taught students from seventh grade up to the university level. He has written a weekly humor column for his local paper for more than a decade. This is his first book. He lives with his wife (a librarian) and their three kids outside Austin, Texas. Visit his blog at www.thaddeusledbetter.blogspot.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2010

    Too funny to be missed.

    This book is so funny. You will laugh out loud. Thad's ideas about how things should work seem to make sense by the end. It reads really fast because of the journals and emails and notes. It's never boring because of the fun facts. Those teach you about words and stuff, plus they make you laugh. They don't have enough really funny books for kids, so I hope this guy writes more.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2010

    Definately Worth Reading!

    Thaddeus A. Ledbetter is sentenced to a year in ISS for various crazy things, like causing his bus to hit an angry portly guy, and artist and a yodler to quit their jobs, and sending his middle school through a disaster. But for each of these events and a few others, he defends himself by claiming that these accidents weren't caused by him, and that he just wants to prepare everyone for the worst case scenarios to happen.

    The layout of the book is amazing--in the form of files, referel papers, folders, e-mails, notes, and pictures. It's funny, and Thaddeus's attitude is priceless!

    Definately a read for middle schoolers, but not a bad read for kids of higher grade levels either. :)

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 22, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Kid Review - My Favorite Book This Year! Just Awesome

    This is a brand new book and lots of kids haven't heard about it yet. I got it at the Book Fair in Austin. Thaddeus is 12 years old and gets put in In-School Suspension for the rest of the school year after having his own safety drill at Crooked Creek Middle School. He realized that staged fire drills don't really test preparedness for a real-life emergency like a FIRE and he came up with a drill that involved a killer-bee alert, pulling the fire alarm and shouting about old people driving cars into the school. Needless to say everyone had a panic attack. You won't believe who all came to respond to the fire.....like seven police cars, three fire trucks and several pest-control vehicles. This great book is about Thaddeus's defense of himself, typed on a laptop the school gave him for doing his school work, included are letters to and from friends and relatives, notes from the principal, diagrams, helpful advice for running the school more efficiently and "Fun Facts"! These facts are so cool...they are definitions and derivations (how is that for a awesome word) of words he uses from his totally huge vocabulary. Thaddeus is a really cool kid and I got all kinds of great ideas from reading the book. He will make you laugh because you know what he is saying is so true! Read it! You too will want to "Free Thaddeus".

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    You Will Love This Book

    I just finished reading this book and it really made me laugh. My Dad picked up the book at the book fair in Austin because I didn't get to go. I agree with some of the adults that read the book. It is just fun to read. There are so many good ideas. I especially like the 'slug bug rules' and the parking recommendations should be considered by our principal. I am taking the book to school to show our Librarian. She will have to buy her own if she wants one for the library. I am not giving mine up! I might let her have it for a day or two. A real cool book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2010

    A Real Treat

    How many times have my middle school students asked me to suggest a funny book that is easy to read and not too long? The Defense of Thaddeus A Ledbetter will be my first suggestion. The format of discipline referrals, notes, evaluations and letters will appeal to students. I love the inventive solutions that Thaddeus is able to present even though his teachers and principal do not agree. Students will cheer him on and enjoy how he builds his defense against being assigned to a year in in-school suspension. Not only is this a great read for a youngster, it is also a wonderful satire on education that teachers will appreciate.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 29, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Seniors Will Love This Book

    I picked this book up over the Holidays while visiting my grandson. He was reading it and thought I might like it. I am 70 and don't do a lot of light reading; but, I just couldn't put this book down while visiting the kids. This Thaddeus kid is so full of mischief that he will have you laughing huge crocodile tears. It is a quick and easy read and if you have children or grandchildren you will see you kids thinking up some of these really crazy ideas. Thaddeus advises his school principal about a better way to park the faculty, like have the really fat people park all the way in the back of the parking lot in order to walk off a little weight. I highly recommend this book as a way to put aside some of the more difficult things we now face in our country. 7 or 70...this one will make you laugh and put a smile on your face every time you think about it!

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    Posted December 10, 2010

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    Posted October 6, 2010

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