Monday, June 23, 2014

Sunshine State Book Reviews 2014-2015: 8 Class Pets

Hey y'all!  Today's post is another Sunshine State Book review for the book 8 Class Pets + 1 Squirrel Divided by 1 Dog = Chaos by Vivian Vande Velde.

Here is the summary from Amazon:
Twitch, the school yard squirrel, has really gotten himself into a bind this time. While trying to escape from a hungry owl, he roused the principal's dog and got chased into the school. Now he's locked in for a dangerous and disastrous night. Can Green Eggs and Hamster, Sweetie the library rat, and the other school pets save Twitch from the crazed dog, Cuddles? In this uproarious chapter book, a group of small animals manages to turn an elementary school into a real zoo.

I loved this book!  It was SO cute!  It's essentially a comedy of errors as this squirrel is running through the school, classroom to classroom, looking for help trying to escape an angry dog.  As he visits each classroom he also finally meets the class pets he has only seen through the windows.  Each chapter is a new class pet and these characters are hysterical!  I think my favorite is Miss Lucy Cottontail (the bunny rabbit in second grade).  She is very smart, almost too smart for her own good, and doesn't really understand how others are not as smart as her.  Needless to say we've all had a kid like this in our class and I just love them!  They might drive some people batty and others might think they have bad manners but I don't know what it is, I just like them!  So of course, I love Lucy - which is also my favorite TV show ;)  Fancy that!

Now, this SSS list is for third through fifth grade but I think this book falls into a much broader category.  It is a very short read and a very easy read.  Here are it's stats:

Reading Level: 4.4
Lexile Level: 740L
Pages: 68 pgs.

You look at that and say, "Besides the small amount of page numbers, what's the big deal?"  I think the only reason it got such a high Lexile level is because at the beginning of each chapter it tells some background information about that particular animal: what it eats, where it lives/comes from, habits, sometimes it even goes into their Latin names, etc.  I really do think that some second graders could read this independently or it could even be a first grade read aloud.  Some of the scientific information and sarcasm might go over their head but they will still understand the story.  Now, this in no way diminishes the book in my eyes!  This will be perfect for some of my lower readers and might entice them to read more of the SSS books after they finish this one.  I did want to give you a heads up that this is not the normal size/readability that we have seen from the SSS list in the past ;o)

Possible ways to use this in your classroom:
  • Compare and contrast two of the class pets in the book.
  • Research one of the class pets.  You can come up with your own criteria on what you want them to find and how you want them to present it to the class.
  • Come up with your own class pet!  What would their name be?  What is their personality?
  • Divide your class up into roles and reenact the story.
  • Create a book trailer.
I hope y'all enjoy this book as much as I did!  Very quick read but it will bring a smile to your face :o)  Next up on the review list, thanks to my friend Alison over at Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin' for the recommendation, Elvis and the Underdogs by Jenny Lee!


  1. This book sounds adorable. I am absolutely loving all of the character names. I like that they have the background information of the animals. I'm sure that will be a big hit with the kids. I definitely love that you have come up with ideas of extension activities for the book. I will of course be using them with my class and thank you for the shout out!!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  2. This book sounds really cute! I love the idea of using in for compare and contrast. Thank you!

    Fit to be Fourth