Parents' Guide to

The School Story

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Enchanting tale will leave readers grinning.

The School Story Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 1 parent review

age 8+

Delightful story from a truly great author

Andrew Clements should be considered a national treasure. We (8yr daughter, her mother and me, her father) are making our way through his entire catalog and we are all enjoying all of his books. This one is our daughter's personal favorite, and for good reason.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1):
Kids say (14):

With never a misstep, Clements takes readers to an enticing world where events unfold, not as they do in real life, but as they should. Former teacher Andrew Clements had already rocketed to the upper reaches of the best middle-grade authors list on the strength of his first novel, Frindle, and two follow-ups, The Landry News and The Janitor's Boy. This story is longer and a bit more complex than the others (though still well within the reach of middle and upper elementary children), but it shares with them a deep understanding of the world of school (and now of publishing), exceptionally clever stories, wickedly sharp characterizations, and a perfection in plotting that makes them akin to caper novels.

Readers will grin from beginning to end of this enchanting story, except when brushing away the occasional tear during the more poignant moments, such as when Zoe realizes that Natalie's story, ostensibly about a girl who is caught cheating at school, is really "like a good-bye poem from Natalie to her father," who died when she was young.

The author's prose, filled with witty tidbits such as pleasing mirror-image portraits of the two heroines, is so clear that illustrations aren't really necessary. But illustrator Brian Selznick has added his own clever touches. The ending, too, is pure magic, as Zoe manipulates events to a glorious conclusion that only she has envisioned. Andrew Clements has found a niche that he fills better than anyone, and any child can tell you that there is an infinite variety of school stories to be told. Let's hope he writes many more.

Book Details

  • Author: Andrew Clements
  • Genre: School
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: June 1, 2001
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 9 - 12
  • Number of pages: 196
  • Last updated: July 12, 2017

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