Category Archives: Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday: Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood

Interstellar Cinderella

Release Date: May 2015
Publisher: Chronicle Books

America’s  Review:

A Cinderella story that does not have a pair of glass shoes? What? In this poetic tale of Cinderella, she has left behind her socket wrench! New York Times best seller, Deborah Underwood, has created a unique story of a Cinderella who has tools and sprockets instead of the normal brooms and dustpans. The four line poems are creative and allow the reader to understand a girl can be anything she desires! AND this Cinderella doesn’t want to marry the Prince—she just wants to be his chief mechanic!

Interstellar Cinderella uses a Geom Graphic font, along with muted magenta, silvers and blue colors,  to help create the space-like setting. The life-like illustrations of space robots with the creative use of doodles support the overall interstellar viewpoint.

In the classroom:

This is a perfect introduction to poetry in the classroom. In the 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade poetry is usually taught. After the introduction to poetry, students produce their own poetry.  Interstellar Cinderella is a standard four line rhyming poem introducing bound verse, couplets and meter. This is a familiar story told in a unique and new way. The main character and story line provides a foundation for the student giving a segway into the new information: poetry.

(CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.4 With guidance and support from adults, produce writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task and purpose.–


Flashback Friday: The Jedi Academy: The Phantom Bully by Jeffrey Brown

Release Date: July 2015
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.

America’s Review:

I have raised my two young boys (who I usually refer to as my young Padewans) to be respectful and quiet when in hospitals and libraries. They are to use their indoor voice or fear death. It was too my chagrin when I heard them YELLING in a bookstore two days ago. I couldn’t give them the death stare fast enough, but as my eyes glazed to my boys I noticed the end cap they were standing in front of—-the newest addition to the Jedi Academy series by Jeffrey Brown–The Phantom Bully. I started yelling with them! IT–the end of the middle school years–wasn’t supposed to be on shelves for another two weeks. We had to fight for who would read it first!

Brown has created another fun filled adventure for Roan and his gang of young Padewans! Cronah and his gang of bullies has ganged up on Roan to torture him in his last year. They take his backpack and fill it with horrible food and damage weeks of his homework, along with other mean antics to keep him fearing for his passing of middle school. Roan also gets to officially call Gaiana his girlfriend. The comic book pages, along with Brown’s amazing ability to draw, and the ability to capture Yoda-ize is truly remarkable. I will know start the series again and read them more slowly as I had to pass this along to my own Padewans.

In the Classroom:

The Phantom Bully is a perfect read for the middle grades. It is a book to put in the hands of a cautious reader because of its structure. It has both journal entries (similar to that of Diary of a Wimpy Kid,) but offers comic strip and newspaper reading as well.

As Roan progresses through his third year in middle school, his schedule is full of teachers and expectations. True to life his schedule is (Using Yoda-ize!) All students have a favorite class, teacher or time of day. The first question a relative may ask a young person is, “What is your favorite subject?” The reader can truly understand the middle school years through Roan’s thoughts, conversations and physical interactions. Roan has relationships with his peers as well as a plethora of adults throughout his day. Have your students  “describe how a narrator’s or speaker’s point of view influences how events are described” ( CCSS.ELA-Literacy. RL.5.6.) When correlating the point of view you can also have your students explain how the series of events (especially with the phantom bullying that occurs) fit together to provide the overall structure of the book (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.5.)