Saturday 21 January 2023

The School Story - Andrew Clements

The School Story 
Andrew Clements
ISBN 9780689851865
eISBN 9780689848292

Wow, a School Story book, about a young girl writing a School Story, by one of the masters of School Stories. Andrew Clements amazed me yet again with this wonderful little tale.

Six years ago, I discovered the works of Andrew Clements. I was instantly hooked and have now read almost 25 books from his masterful pen. Many consider him the ‘master of school stories’, and I would agree. I have a dual form of dyslexia and did not learn to read until after grade 7. So I never read ‘school stories’ when I was young. That combined with having my own school aged children has instilled a great appreciation for the genre and specifically for the works of Andrew Clements. Clements passed away in 2019 his last novel was The Friendship War, which is another excellent volume. He writes amazing stories for children, but they are also stories that any of us can learn from. Back then I set the goal of reading all of his works, but as my own children have outgrown these books and they had slid by the wayside. I have now returned to them yet again. I have read 1 a week over the last several weeks and plan to do so for a while yet.

I had no idea what this book was about when I picked it up. I grabbed it based on the author alone. It was an interesting read and is now one my favourites of all his books I have read. It is an excellent read. There are a couple of different descriptions of this book online, and on various editions back covers. Two of them are:

“Twelve-year-old Natalie Nelson has written a powerful school story. It's a short novel called "The Cheater," and her best friend Zoe is certain it should be published. All Natalie has to do is give the manuscript to her mom, an editor at a big publishing house. However Natalie doesn't want any favors from her mom. Still, Zoe won't drop the idea.

Spurred into action, Natalie invents a pen name for herself and Zoe becomes a self-styled literary agent. But if the girls are to succeed, they'll need support from their wary English teacher, legal advice from Zoe's tough-talking father, and some clever maneuvering to outwit the overbearing editor in chief of Shipley Junior Books.”


“Natalie's best friend, Zoe, is sure that the novel Natalie's written is good enough to be published. But how can a twelve-year-old girl publish a book? Natalie's mother is an editor for a big children's publisher, but Natalie doesn't want to ask for any favors.

Then Zoe has a brilliant idea: Natalie can submit her manuscript under a pen name, with Zoe acting as her literary agent. But it's not easy for two sixth graders to put themselves over as grown-ups, even with some help from a couple of real grown-ups who are supportive but skeptical. The next bestselling school story may be in their hands—but can Natalie and Zoe pull off their masquerade?”

The chapters in this story are:

      1: Fan Number One
      2: A Portrait of the Author as a Young Girl
      3: Mystery Man
      4: City Kid
      5: The Plot Thickens
      6: Reality Attack
      7: Business Lesson
      8: A Portrait of the Bulldog as a Young Girl
      9: The Agent
      10: The Chosen Grown-Up
      11: Welcome to the Club
      12: In or Out?
      13: Open for Business
      14: Judgment Day
      15: A New Island
      16: Poker, Anyone?
      17: High Stakes, Aces Wild
      18: The Long Arm of the Law
      19: The Red Pencil Blues
      20: Family and Friends

This is a story about friendship. It is a story about believing in dreams. And in about trying things, even if they seem hard. A friendship between Zoe and Natalie. It is also about the importance of good teachers, family. And It all pivots around publishing and the publishing industry. Natalie has written a book, or most of a book when she lets her friend Zoe read it. Zoey wrote the book to honour her late father. And Zoey and Ms Clayton will do everything they can to help get it published. Zoe is insistent they get it published. When Ms. Clayton reads it she would have a classroom set and recommend it to others so she is on board for helping the two form a Publishing Club at school and being the legal adult helping them with their group. Things do not always go as planned but as mentioned in the book sometimes it is who you know that helps make things happen.

This is another wonderful offering from the masterful pen of Andrew Clements. This is a great Middle Grade read. A wonderful School Story about a School Story! A fantastic book for young readers, and for those of us who just love a great story!

Books by Andrew Clements:
Bird Adalbert
Noah and the Ark and the Animals
Santa's Secret Helper
Temple Cat
Mother Earth's Counting Book
Billy and the Bad Teacher
Who Owns the Cow
Bright Christmas: An Angel Remembers
(Adapter)Philipp's Birthday Book
Riff's BeBop Book
Real Monsters Go for the Mold
Things That Go EEK on Halloween
Real Monsters Stage Fright
Music Time, Any Time
Double Trouble in Walla Walla
Gromble's Haunted Halloween
Hey Dad, Could I Borrow Your Hammer
The Landry News
Look Who's in the Thanksgiving Play
The Mouse Family
The Janitor's Boy
Circus Family Dog
The Christmas Kitten
The School Story
Things Not Seen 
The Jacket 
A Week in the Woods
Slippers at Home
Naptime for Slippers
The Report Card
The Last Holiday Concert
Slippers at School
Slippers Loves to Run
A Million Is a Lot of Dots
Lunch Money
Things Hoped For
Room One: A Mystery or Two
No Talking
Things That Are
Lost and Found
Extra Credit
About Average
The Map Trap
The Friendship War
The Losers Club

Pets to the Rescue Series
Ringo Saves the Day!
Brave Norman
Tara and Tiree, Fearless Friends
Delores and the Big Fire

Jake Drake Series
Jake Drake Know-It-All
Jake Drake, Bully Buster
Jake Drake, Teacher's Pet
Jake Drake, Class Clown

Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School Series
We the Children
Fear Itself
The Whites of Their Eyes
In Harm's Way
We Hold These Truths

Reading Program Books
Karen's Island
Three Wishes for Buster
Bill Picket: An American Original, Texas Style
Hurricane Andrew
Ham and Eggs for Jack
Life in the Desert
Desert Treasure
Inventors: Making Things Better, Steck-Vaughn
Milo's Great Invention

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