Nothings Fair in Fifth...
Barthe DeClements
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Nothings Fair in Fifth Grade

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  6,929 ratings  ·  117 reviews
Jenny knows one thing for sure - Elsie Edwards is a fat thief who steals people's lunch money to buy candy. So when the book club money disappears, why is the whole class punished? Nothing's fair!

But soon Jenny realizes some things aren't fair for Elsie, either. Elsie is on a strict diet, but when she starts losing weight, her mother won't buy her new clothes. Instead, she

Paperback, 0 pages
Published July 1st 1982 by Scholastic (first published 1981)
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Carrie Padian
This is pretty much the most horrible thing I have ever read. I had this book when I was a kid and I have to cringe now when I read the way Elsie's character is written, what everyone says about her (she's fat, so she's automatically "gross") and what she says about herself. First we hate her because she's fat and gross, then we hate her because she eats everyone's food (obviously she does, don't forget she's fat and that's what all fat people do!) and then she steals their money too. Oh, but sh...more
I'd just like to say to those of you who think this book was not a real representation of fifth grade and it was "over the top", this was a pretty realistic representation for me. Granted I don't remember all the details of the book, but I remember relating to it at the time.

I actually read this book when I was in the 5th grade the year it was published... and I... was the fat blonde girl. My day at school consisted of being taunted and teased. Kids would act like I smelled bad (I didn't) and m...more
When I was in 5th grade, I encountered this book under some odd circumstances while staying at a girl's house. I picked it up and started reading, and was hooked.

I love it. I loved it as a kid, and having recently ordered it online and read it again, I love it all the more as an adult, and can appreciate how excellent it is on a deeper level.

The characters are just totally REAL. That's the best way to put it. I could relate to them, boys and girls alike. Their dialog was spot-on and nearly 100%...more
Blubber, take note: THIS is how you do a Fat Girl storyline.

For one thing, Elsie Edwards is actually fat, not just "pudgy". She's clearly obese, she eats for comfort, she steals people's food and lunch money, and she's been in trouble for her bad habits. And yet you still feel sympathy for her because even a sneaky thief with an eating problem doesn't deserve the bullying she gets from her classmates and for her own mother to treat her like shit and blatantly favor her spoiled little sister.

I don't even think at the age of 10-11 I would have enjoyed this book. Being the "fat kid" myself, I found it so degrading at first. I suppose that is reality but I never heard such things in my time growing up. Perhaps I am glad that I never had to listen to those things.

I felt bad for Elsie. I felt bad that the author dumped so much crap on her life in this book. It was like she was punishing the fat kid. Maybe the author herself was the fat kid growing up?

The children are evil and cruel, more...more
I don't know; fifth grade wasn't too bad for me. But I loved getting ready for the fifth grade and reading about other fifth graders. Plus, Barthe DeClements once taught at the elementary school I attended, so that made the book even more special to me, especially when I, with my elementary schoolgirl enthusiasm, wrote to her and gushed about how much I loved the book, and I thought it was so cool that before she became an author, she taught at the school that I was then at. She was really nice...more
Julie Sondra Decker
Jenny and her classmates don't like the new girl Elsie because she's fat and steals food, but after they get to know her and realize what she's facing at home, they become more sympathetic and learn to support her. They offer each other friendship and compassion which holds fast when tested.

I would have given this story more stars if two of its major problems hadn't been there: One, there is a really horrific amount of fat-shaming in this book, describing Elsie as a pig and as disgusting; and tw...more
Great examination of middle school politics and still walks off the shelf with my 5th graders.
Jennifer Neuschwander
I read this several times when I was a's still good. :-)
I am older than Fifth grade, so I am not sure exactly why I loved/love this book so much.

First of all THIS BOOK IS NOT FOR FIFTH GRADERS! too much drama and explaining parents would have a headache for telling and explain to their child about things that happen in this book.

It's good all the way through Keeps you guessing and need to know whats happening.
A REVIEW for people who don't know this book.

A fifth grader Jenny has 2 friends. She has a cat DD and also a new student comes to class. Eli...more
Olivia Amann
I loved this book and I am finally finished!!! It is about a girl named Jenifer and how she thinks that she is having the most unfair fifth grade year of all! What makes it so unfair is that this new fat blond girl shows up in Jenifer Sawywer's class, also she hates her teacher and she thinks she is the most strict person in the world! The new fat girl is named Elsie and she cant't do any sports or anything because everyone says that she is so fat! She also steals everyones luch money to buy mor...more
Desiree Herrera
While reading this book, I did not remember the fifth grade being this bad. Of course there was teasing and taunting going on, but I do not think it got as bad as this. I do think that this book is a good read for fifth grade girls because it shows the struggles and cattiness that sometimes does go on amongst pre-teen/teenage girls. A new girl has moved into their school, and no one seems to like her because she looks different. The first chapter is entitled "The Fat Blonde Girl," which basicall...more
This book dealt with an initially unsympathetic protagonist, Jenny, who looks down on her classmate Elsie for being fat and stealing money for food. But through the story, Jenny and her friends learn about the family issues Elsie has and they want to support her.

What I don't like about it is that it's another one of those books where the fat person has to lose weight before people start agreeing that she's worth respecting, and the fat-shaming attitudes aren't corrected in the book. Elsie stops...more
I read this in fifth grade and found it at my mom's house recently when I was pulling out books for my eleven-year-old niece. Unfortunately, she wasn't interested, so I brought the book home with me to read again. Should be fun after all these years.

UPDATE: (3 years later...)

I just finished my first reading of this since grade school. As I went along, I found the page I left dogeared about halfway through from the first time I tried to read it all those years ago. I'm happy I finished it this ti...more
I just started reading this book. Its quite good, its the average daily drama in 5th grade.......
new girl comes...... gets bully ...... the popukar kids always whisper bout her...... The new girl steals everyones money........ Ya kno the average .....( not really ) But you will like this book if your a "blume"er like me ..... the writing is very similar. ( Judy Blume and Barthe DeClements)
Jenny is a fifth-grader whose year is changed when she meets Elsie, a large girl who is picked on by her classmates and her own mother. At first, Jenny taunts her like everyone else, but ends up liking Elsie, even going so far as to plotting a way to make her stay in the school the following year.

I chose this book because I thought it might make a good read-aloud for my fifth graders; however, I would never recommend this to my class. Although the publishers have tried to modernize the book with...more
It felt like there were too many problems. Definitely not how a normal fifth grade is. Too many touchy topics and it just wasn't fit for a children's book. I did not enjoy it. I don't see how my young self did. Did I?

I felt sorry for Elsie, that poor girl. But I guess that's how school is, sometimes. It's vicious. She should be lucky that things weren't worse for her. Her weight and school problems should have been enough for the storyline, but there was this added thing with her mother and her...more
Madison Evans
Nothing's Fair in Fifth Grade by Barthe DeClements is a very age appropriate book for middle school students. This book is definitely geared towards girls, and the many dramatic life lessons that apply to pre-adolescence. Girls can use this book as an entertainment read, or a fluency practice book.
You guys have to understand that when this book was written, they didn't ACTUALLY deal with body image problems. This book was actually written by a teacher and her class. It's pretty amazing that a teacher got a book published by having students write what happened next
Deirdre Benavides
This was one of my favorite books as a kid. Like another commenter said, the characters in this book are so real and true to kids who are this age. Another said that this book's tone was mean and that fifth graders are too young to read it, but I disagree. I first read it in the fourth grade and it was just fine. This book can have strong tones at points, but it is great for opening up discussions with young girls (and boys) about fat-shaming. Elsie is discriminated against by Jenifer and her cl...more
Ann Marie
This book was written perfectly...every character was true...from the over weight girl to the classroom teacher - every individual was totally believable...and the main character was spot on...Jenny hates the new girl until - she doesn't...Elise was obese - until she wasn't...MUST READ...going with fourth into fifth summer reading MUST !!!!!!!
Read this in 5th grade circa 1986, it is a CLASSIC.

Read it my my students in 2010 and they loved it too.

CLASSIC 5th grade 1980's highjenks.
Sara Yuen
I thought that this book was really good because it brought you back to the fifth grade. You were able to relate to the book easily because the things that was told in the book, would normally happen in the fifth grade. At the age of the characters in the fifth grade, it was the time when the kids would make fun of each other because the size. In this book, I learned to not always assume something when you do not even have the facts for it because it will it get you anywhere and it will also rui...more
Emily Rau
I just finished reading this book and it was one of the best books I have ever read. It is about a girl named Jenny who gets a new student in her class. this student is a little bit bigger than your average 5th grader. Alot of kids make fun of her and tease her. After a couple of weeks of her getting teased and made fun of Jenny relizes it wouldnt be fun to be in her position. they become friends and she gets invited to a sluber party with Jenny and a bunch of her friends and also she starts ha...more
I love re-reading books (dare I say 15 years later...)

This was just as good the second time around. I know my own kids wouldn't get some of the references (Bill Cosby show, 'neat', etc), but nonetheless, it's a good read and pretty timeless. Fat kid, bullying, everyone realizing she's a person with feelings too.

Reminds me of the yahoo article recently posted:

The only thing I thought needed closure was Elise's relationship with her mom. Her mom freaking o...more
Donnolee Ho-shing
This was my favorite book when I was younger. I loved it so much!
As my stars rate, It was OK. I mean, it's a sad story and the main character gets away with being awful to this poor girl (known as the "fat blond girl"), whose mother absolutely hates her and wants to send her away. And to add the cherry on top, her father and mother are divorced and her dad's girlfriend hates her so much that she made her father stay away from her.
It's a good plot, nonetheless, about how Jenny learns a lesson that it doesn't matter what's on the outside, but more what's on t...more
Lynde Conroy
Nothing's Fair in Fifth Grade by Barthe DeClements is a very age appropriate book for middle school students. This book is definitely geared towards girls, and the many dramatic life lessons that apply to pre-adolescence. Girls can use this book as an entertainment read, or a fluency practice book. This book is not only an entertaining read that students will be happy to engage in, but there are some social and life lessons presented that apply to students, such as the issue of bullying.
Lori Michael
Growing-up, this was one of the best books to read about how cruel girls can be to one another, especially to those overweight. I read this book in 5th grade when I was bullied and alienated by a group of girls, and I re-read it not too long ago. A great read for anyone who has ever been targeted as "That girl." Also as a teacher, for eight years, it most certainly helps with recognizing, supporting, and understanding the girl or boy that is being alienated for just being themselves.
Claudine-This book is about of a girl named Elsie that gets too a new school and shes very fat and her mom doesnt like her but people on her school dont like her either a girl named jenni treats her bad but then shes nice with her and Elsie teaches her math.

valentina-this book is about a fat girl who eats a lot.She is new to the school and she dosen't have friends. When you read this book you are going to fell very sentimental but at the same time intertain
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awesome 6 11 Feb 21, 2012 07:37PM  
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