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Third Grade Angels

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  454 ratings  ·  94 reviews
The long-awaited prequel to the bestseller FOURTH GRADE RATS

George, aka "Suds," has just entered third grade, and he's heard the rhyme about "first grade babies/second grade cats/third grade angels/fourth grade rats," but what does this mean for his school year? It means that his teacher, Mrs. Simms, will hold a competition every month to see which student deserves to be a
Hardcover, 112 pages
Published September 1st 2012 by Arthur A. Levine Books
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Newbery 2013
113th out of 121 books — 1,177 voters
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School Grades in Title
36th out of 104 books — 13 voters

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Community Reviews

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A nice read (read it out loud to 5 and 7 year old boys) - dare I say, a clean read? A well-paced story about the ins and outs of daily child hood and trying to be good! And if the librarian in me must say - a clean read - as in no farting, no pooping, no vomiting like many of the other "boy" books we've read lately (not that we have a problem with that but this book shows that boys are interested in much more than just books about poops, farts, and the such!) Great pictures too (perfect for our ...more
Zach's 3rd Grade Review - The main character Suds is trying to get the first class Halo. Mrs. Sims is giving the first class Halo to the best behaving person in class. Everybody wanted the Halo so when someone’s hat outside the school blew onto the playground they all fought over it to give it back and then it ripped apart.

Mrs. Sims got mad and a few days later everyone stopped caring about the Halo except for Suds and a few other kids. One day his sister was being annoying on the bus, so he go
George, nicknamed Suds, has just entered third grade, and he's worried about the schoolyard chant “first grade babies/second grade cats/third grade angels/fourth grade rats.” Being an angel in third grade means that his new teacher, Mrs. Simms, will hold a competition every month to see which student deserves to be awarded the halo, a small yellow circle that serves as a reward for the best-behaved, kindest, and most perfect third grader in her class. Suds (who gets his name from his predilectio ...more
Karen Burt
George Morton has been looking forward to being a third grade "angel" ever since kindergarten. The first day of school Miss. Simms explains that she will crown an angel each week beginning in October. The student that has been the kindest, nicest, most "angelic" student will be awarded a halo that they get to wear all week at school and then they get to take the halo home. Every student in Miss. Simms class wants to be the first one to get a halo. Well, everyone but Joseph. George works especial ...more
This review is from my blog, Studies in Storytelling. Please view the complete version at

What I Learned about Storytelling From Third Grade Angels by Jerry Spinelli

I got this signed ARC at BEA. I grew up on Stargirl and Maniac Magee, and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to meet Spinelli himself. And so this is how a 21-year-old college senior ended up reading Third Grade Angels for fun.

(The art inside the book is precious. The expressions of the
Amy Adams
When I read a kid's book, I always try to think back and imagine if I would've liked the book as a kid. With this book, I don't think I would've liked it very much. The story was ok, but it's not super memorable. The characters are all kind of boring to me. When I finished the book, I thought, "Oh, so I see that he's trying to teach a lesson about how helping others is better than helping yourself." This is funny because I heard the author talking about the book, and he said that he doesn't writ ...more
Amber the Human
I checked this book out first, before I realized it was a prequel to Fourth Grade Rats. I didn't end up reading it, so it went back to the library, and later I read Fourth Grade Rats. Which was okay. Similar to other Spinelli books about how some kids are automatically "good" and others have to be shown the way. Anyway, later I picked up this one again, and it is definitely clear that Spinelli is a more mature writer than he was when he wrote Rats, but it's still just an okay book.
Sophie Muller
Just loved it! It reminded me of Jake Drake but with the Spinelli touch! I loved the lesson related to who gets the first halo: brilliant and very thought-provoking! I love the mom and how she puts things into perspective and hence releases tension. Example from page 34:
"I reached deep in the suds for my dinosaur. I took a deep breath. "Joey told Judy Billings I love her." Mom's eyebrows went up. That was the only hint that she was impressed. Then she gave a shrug. "So? What's the big deal? You'
Courtney Dyer
“First grade babies! Second grade cats! Third grade angles! Fourth grade rats!”

Master author Jerry Spinelli has compellingly created a prequel to his 1991 book Fourth Grade Rats. Third Grade Angels is innocently funny and sure to be a favorite for early chapter book readers with this very relatable elementary school topic.

George (aka Suds) is finally a Third Grade Angel in Mrs. Simms class. He has been dreaming of this day since Kindergarten. But what does it mean to be a Third Grade Angel? Each
This was fun one for my kids and I to read and discuss. There were two things I particularly liked about it. 1- the teacher believed in and treated the kids like they were angels from the beginning, and didn't waiver from that, no matter how they acted. We should all be a little more believing in what people can be and their potential, not how they act. 2- the description of Sud's worry (a hamster on a wheel in his stomach) and how he handled it (a big bubble bath and talk with his Mom). This is ...more
Kim Harris
George 'Suds' Morton is finally a Third grade Angel. His new teacher, Mrs Simms is great. She laughs with them and she respects them. Beginning in October, she will choose one student a week to receive a halo. Suds decides to be a perfect angel in order to get the first halo. But being a perfect angel turns out to be harder than he expects, especially being nice to his little sister and constantly worrying if his teacher's network of spies will notice all of his good deeds.

I enjoyed this little
Mrs. Simms will award a "halo" to one third grade student each week with the most angelic behavior. Will Suds be the first student to earn one? Or Darren Tapp? Being a "perfect angel" is hard in and out of school. Suds mom is a great support as he learns it isn't always about him. Cute, but not memorable story that could be a good conversation piece.... however, Third Grade Angels doesn't involve serious themes like I'm used to from Spinelli. This light-hearted read for younger readers more is m ...more
Nov 10, 2014 Rebekah rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: ar
Read this with my very energetic third grader. Hoping that it would give him a good idea on how to act in school. Both of us found the entertaining, and my son was always asking to read more.
I found the concept awesome. The students learned some important life lessons in the first month in Ms Simms class. Repect of property, good sportsmanship, working without bribery, and keep working hard no matter what happens.
Might have to try this myself here at home.
Just a funny side note. Our school pr
I really Like this book lot. I especially like the part when it said FIRST GRADE BABIES SECOND GRADE CATS THIRD GRADE ANGELS FOURTH GRADE RATS
Jerry Spinelli is a master, perhaps the quintessential master, of writing fascinating characters and creating visceral excitement for his readers, giving us the feeling the story is going somewhere important and we won't want to miss what's coming next. Third Grade Angels, though shorter than most of Jerry Spinelli's books, contains that same irresistible sense of velocity, the gentle but constant pressure exerted through the plot that keeps us steadily moving forward in the story, that slight ...more
George, better known as Suds because he likes to take bubble baths to calm himself down, has just started the third grade. Mrs. Simms asks each student to be their best, to act like angels, and for their efforts, every month, a different student will get a halo to wear. Never has Mrs. Simms not had a student earn their halo, she tells her class. George, who is very competitive, decides that he going to do everything in his power to win the halo first and before he knows it, his angelic behavior ...more
I love Jerry Spinelli! "Third Grade Angels," which appears to be the first? in a series, is recommended for readers in grades two through five. The cover will immediately draw in early chapter book readers - it's colorful and communicates a lot about the life of a third grader - and the use of the basketball hoop to symbolize the "angel" theme found in the book is clever. The book is a good-natured, humorous look at one teacher's method for getting her students to be good human beings.

On the fir
Brenten Gilbert
Released just in time for school, Jerry Spinelli works backwards in time to continue his series of grade-based books. I've not read any of his other books, but my now fifth grader has enjoyed a couple of his books - including his memoir/autobiography. And now that I have a third grader again, it was only fitting that I give this book a spin. It's a cute story that takes place at the beginning of the school year for our main character, George (a.k.a. Suds).

Mrs. Simms, the third grade teacher, iss
This is the long awaited prequel to Jerry Spinelli’s book, Fourth Grade Rats, which was written in 1993. Ever since Kindergarten, George “Suds” Morton has been looking forward to 3rd grade. At school there is a chant: First Grade Babies, Second Grade Cats, Third Grade Angels, Fourth Grade Rats. On the first day of school, Suds’ 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Simms, greets everyone saying, “Welcome, angel Brett, Welcome angel Emma.” She knows every child by name. They are expected to behave kindly at al ...more
This is the cutest little book about a third grader named George. His teacher told the students on the first day of school that she would give a halo out each month to the most angelic student in the class. The first halo was to be awarded in a month, and George was determined to get it. He was nice to everyone (even his little sister), picked up trash, never talked out in school and always did his best work, and even saved a dog from being run over. Just in case the teacher didn't hear about hi ...more
Kristin R
A fun book about the third grade class of Mrs. Simms. Mrs. Simms Encourages her new class to be angels. She encourages them all to do their best and be kind to others. She encourages them by having a halo contest. She will select one child pet week to receive a halo for being the best student that week. Suds, one of her students, goes to great lengths to be the first student to win a halo.
My six year old son's summary of the book:
There are kids entering third grade. The teacher tells the kids about the halo. The halo is that little crown thingamajig. The students earn the halo by doing good deeds. George wants to win the first halo. He picks up trash, he eats his peas, he opens the doors for the other kids, and he saves a dog. George does not win.
This was a very good book for my third grade class. They could read it easily and there were two positive adult role models. Usually teachers are portrayed as evil or dumb, but Mrs. Simms was an excellent teacher with high expectations. I also enjoy the mom. She had a great relationship with her son and her talks with him while he was bathing were great.
A really great story. I read this with my 8 year old. She loved the idea of being Angels but didn't want to be a baby or a rat very much!

She loved the idea of earning a halo - doing nice and responsible things to others and using your manners helps earn the halo.

She said she would work really hard to earn one too!
We also both really enjoyed the illustrations every few pages - they did a great job of showing us the story as much as us reading it out loud.

The best part, as a mom, was the message
This is a nice 2nd grade read about George "Suds", whose third grade teacher, Mrs. Simms challenges the class to a contest of good behavior by offering the prize of a halo to the firsth winner.
George does his best to be ridiculously good in front of the teacher but has a much harder time being an "angel" toward his little sister whom he refers to as Zipperface. Ultimately, the first halo goes to another student, Chandra, who we know nothing about except that she does not really need to work on
They're known as the "Third Grade Angels" and Miss Simms, their teacher, challenges them to earn the halo for their behavior. Suds really wants to be the one to earn that halo first, but it isn't easy. With an annoying sister at home and a sarcastic classmate at school, he seems to have to put in twice the effort. As the days wear on, Suds notices that some of his classmates have eased up on their efforts but “I feel myself getting perfecter and perfecter.” After he saves a dog from being hit by ...more
Shreya Goyal
Third grade Angels is about George's ( Suds is his original name) first day of third grade. First he herd in the kindergarten : first grade babies, second grade cats, third grade angels, fourth grade rats. He'd been a baby, a cat but not a angel yet. On the first day of third grade their teacher told them bout halo angels have on top of their head. Mrs.Simms their teacher tells their first day of halo giving was in 1st October. Will George get the halo first or not ?
Ashley Barrett
As a teacher, I'd heard of Jerry Spinelli many times, but this is the first book of his that I have read. I liked that the main character is a boy (it isn't as easy to find as you might think) and that there was a moral at the end, but it doesn't beat you over the head!
I'm looking for books that my young grandson may like, and I didn't find the dialogue in this book authentic to the age group. I didn't finish reading it because it starts out so boring. I can't imagine a young reader being interested in it.
Looking for the elusive read-aloud that is fast, fun and sends a positive message? Spinelli dazzles at all reading levels. This one is a great Sept read - for those new 3rd graders and maybe helping them want to be classroom angels and more.
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When Jerry Spinelli was a kid, he wanted to grow up to be either a cowboy or a baseball player. Lucky for us he became a writer instead.

He grew up in rural Pennsylvania and went to college at Gettysburg College and Johns Hopkins University. He has published more than 25 books and has six children and 16 grandchildren.
Jerry Spinelli began writing when he was 16 — not much older than the hero of his
More about Jerry Spinelli...
Stargirl (Stargirl, #1) Maniac Magee Love, Stargirl (Stargirl, #2) Milkweed Loser

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