||Nancy's picks for the best junior novels
of summer 1998 and ideas for using
them in the classroom. Compiled by Nancy Polette © 1998.
Tuesday, February 19, 2002
- Beard, Darleen. THE
FLIMFLAM MAN Farrar, 1998 (Gr 3-5)
- An advance man for a
circus drives in to Wetumka, OK. on a hot
summer day in 1950.
- Bobbie Jo is taken with
the man, especially when he gives her
free tickets and helps her with her
stuttering. So she and Clara Jean
unwittingly join the filmflam man in the
effort to bamboozle the town.
- ACTIVITY: Check out a book
on magic tricks and try one of the tricks
on your friends. Can you
"bamboozle" them? What does
- Branford, Henrietta. FIRE,
BED AND BONE. Candlewick, 1998. Gr 5-8
- In 1381 unrest is
spreading like the plague among the serfs
of England. This unforgettable tale is
narrated by an old hunting dog.
- Activity: Use all of these
words in one sentence to describe the
cover of the book:embers, freedom, byre,
trough, pallet, Great House, wicked,
village, serfs,goodhearted, squabbles,
shepherd, meadow, knight, nuzzled,
Bishop, scruff, midday, passage,
prisoners, steward, dwindled.
- DeFelice, Cynthia. THE
GHOST OF FOSSIL GLEN. Farrar, 1998. (Gr 4-6)
- Allie is good at knowing
things about people and she knows she is
being pursued by a ghost..is it the ghost
of a girl in her dreams who falls from a
cliff crying "help me!"
- What do the dreams really
- ACTIVITY: Check out a
library book on the meaning of dreams.
What would you tell
- Allie that her dream
- Gregory, Kristiana. ORPHAN
RUNAWAYS. Scholastic, 1998. Gr 4-6
- In 1878 Danny and Judd run
away from a miserable orphanage in San
Francissco, and thus begins an exciting
adventure set in a gold rush boom town.
- Activity: Find out what
the following would cost in San Francisco
at the beginning of the gold rush (1849)1
doz. eggs, 1 loaf bread, 1# butter,needle
and thread, a shovel. (A good source of
information is Rhonda Blumbergs
Great American Gold Rush.
- Hill, Donna. SHIPWRECK
Clarion, 1998 GR 5-8
- Young Daniel spends eight
months among rough seamen at a
lifesavers station but gains
respect for those who risk their lives to
save others in this 1880s story.
- Activity: Research and
write ten clues about someone connected
with the sea. One clue must be a
give-away clue. Ask classmates to give
you a number between one and ten. Read
the clue. The student can guess or pass.
The game continues until the person is
guessed or all clues are read.
- Karr, Kathleen. THE
GREAT TURKEY WALK. Farrar, 1998. (Gr 3-5)
- Simon Green who has just
completed the third grade for the fourth
time intends to herd a flock of turkeys
from eastern Missouri to ?Denver where
theyll fetch a mighty price. In
1860 the hazards of such a trek are many
in this wild west adventure.
- ACTIVITY: Map a route for
Simon to take and explain why it is the
- Karr, Kathleen. THE
LIGHTHOUSE MERMAID. Hyperion, 1998. (Gr 2-4)
- Growing up near the sea,
Kate fills her days dreaming of mermaids.
But when her father, the lighthouse
keeper goes to sea one stormy night,Kate
must keep the beacon burning for the
- ACTIVITY: Complete the
pattern: If I were a lighthouse keeper I
would ( list four
- things) and Id (
list four more ) but I wouldnt
(list something a sailor would do)
because sailors do that.
- Lasky, Kathryn. ALICE
ROSE & SAM. Hyperion, 1998. Gr 4-7
- A gritty silver mining
town, a young girl, crooked judges, and a
murder all make for an exciting tale of
the days of the Comstock Lode when Alice
Rose and Samuel Clemens team up to foil
the plans of the mysterious Society of
- Activity: Summarize the
story using the title as the first
letters of each line.
- Osborne, Mary. FAVORITE
MEDIEVAL TALES. Scholastic, 1998.
- Nine favorite tales from
medieval Europe including tales that
feature Sir Gawain, Beowolf, Merlin, and
- Activity: Create a
bio-poem about a hero: First name, Four
traits, Related to, Has, Needs, Fears,
Would like to see, Resident of.
- Rinaldi, Ann. MINE
EYES HAVE SEEN. Scholastic, 1998. Gr 5-8
- In 1859 John Brown gathers
his army while his fifteen-year-old
daughter watches at the beginning of a
summer of promise and menace, tenderness
and cruelty and of growing up and letting
- Activity: Choose someone
living today whom you admire. Write a
letter from that person to John Brown
giving needed advice.
- Simon, Seymour. EINSTEIN
ANDERSON AND THE MYSTERIOUS LIGHTS. (Gr 3-6)
ANDERSON AND THE INVISIBLE MAN
ANDERSON AND THE WINGS OF DARKNESS
- William Morrow, 1998,
- Solve several mysteries in
each book with a boy genius!
- Skurzynski, Gloria and
Alane Ferguson. RAGE
National Geographic, 1998. (Gr 4-6)
- It was supposed
to be a restful family vacation in
Hawaii. So why is Jack chasing his
younger sister Ashley and a kid named
Danny through a lava crater? And
whos chasing all three of them?
- ACTIVITY: Create a book
titled H is for Volcano. How many H words
can you connect with volcano? Each word
can be a different page in your book with
an explanation of the word as it relates
to volcanoes. Examples might be : hot,
Hawaii, high etc.
- Wright, Betty Ren. A
GHOST IN THE FAMILY. Scholastic, 1998. Gr 4-6
- Chad vacations in a
boarding house full of odd characters...a
mummy appears, a panther leaps out of his
closet, a fortune-teller predicts trouble
and a diamond bracelet is stolen.
- Activity: Describe a
strange character you might create if you
were to write a boarding house story.
- Yep, Laurence. THE
IMP THAT ATE MY HOMEWORK. HarperCollins, 1998. GR 4-7
- Jim discovers that his
Grandpop has the ability to turn himself
into a supernatural warrior when a nasty
green imp appears. Together they face the
imp in a wild battle of magic and wits.
- Activity: Write an excuse
for not having your homework. Include at
least three of these items in the excuse:
a firecracker, a crazed deer, a strong
wind, a jar of peanut butter, a one-eyed
cat, a magnet, a table with one leg, a
bucket of water, a cracked sidewalk, an