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Fourth Grade Rats

3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,508 Ratings  ·  130 Reviews
A fast, fun, friendship read from the Newbery-award winning author of Maniac Magee.

Fourth graders are tough. They aren't afraid of spiders. They say no to their moms. They push first graders off the swings. And they never, ever cry.
Suds knows that now that he's in fourth grade, he's supposed to be a rat. But whenever he tries to act like one, something goes wrong. Can Suds
Paperback, 84 pages
Published March 1st 1993 by Scholastic Paperbacks (first published 1991)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,778)
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Alex Li
Dec 16, 2009 Alex Li rated it it was amazing
Shelves: advisory-2010

Troublesome Rat and goody Angel

"First grade babies! Second grade cats! Third grade angels! Fourth grade rats!" Splendid, funny, believable, Fourth grade rat by Jerry Spinelli leaves you wanting more. The author makes the book flow because of the themes of the book, descriptions of the characters unique personality, and their thoughts.
The theme, peer pressure, from the book Fourth grade rats, happens a lot to Suds. Suds, the main character, just want to be a third grader again so that he can stay
Sophie Muller
Jan 10, 2015 Sophie Muller rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teen-literature
I just cannot believe how great this series by Spinelli is! Three things I loved:
- Suds asks his dad pointing at his weights: "Is that how you became a man?" Answer: "It helped me looked like one." Brilliant answer knowing Suds is struggling to become a man pressured by his best friend Joey.
- Joey's mom: I thought she was being careless in her way to deal with Joey's rebellious stage. Loved how I was proved wrong at the end of the book!
- Lunch box: if I had a son I would him to feel that way too
Oct 24, 2013 Taniah rated it it was amazing
Have you ever been in a situation where you had to grow up and get rid of somethings that you grew up with ? The genre of Fourth Grade Rats is realistic fiction. My opinion is that the book is good but it has to many parts where the main character ( Suds ) should have had flashbacks on how him and his best friend ( Joey ) were such angels in third grade.

The setting of the story takes place at Joey's and Suds's house and at the play ground.Joey wanted Suds to grow up and act like a rat but some
Dec 21, 2015 Isobel rated it it was amazing
It was very funny
Kenzie Bakeman
Nov 18, 2015 Kenzie Bakeman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books that I read when I was in elementary school and still kept in the back of my mind all the way up to college. Jerry Spinelli's writing puts readers up close and personal with each character and real issue going on in his/her world, which makes this book so special. All kids go through a time of feeling like they do not belong at their school for various reasons. Sometimes it is bullying that makes a student feel left out and afraid to be himself, but other times it is t ...more
Elizabeth Stavis
Sep 17, 2013 Elizabeth Stavis rated it it was amazing
Suds was happy as a "third grade angel" and he doesn't want to have to be a "fourth grade rat." His friend, Joey, can't wait to be a rat, and to only look at for "number 1" (that's himself!).

I loved how this book was easy to read but funny. Joey is over the top--he does crazy things like try to pierce his own ears just for the pain!--and Suds does hilarious things like carry a lunch box with flying elephants and yo-yos. You'll laugh out loud at their adventures!
Apr 27, 2015 Kelly added it
Kelly Wiegand
April 27, 2015
EDL54500 Library Materials for Children and Youth

Title: Fourth Grade Rats

Author: Jerry Spinelli

Plot: Fourth graders are known around the school as rats; however Suds is having a difficult time transitioning from a third grade angel to a fourth grade rat. When his friend Joey shows him how to become a rat, Suds is conflicted. Will Suds become a rat like Joey and will it be worth the consequences?

Setting: School; Joey's House; Suds' House

Characters: Suds; Joey; Suds' M
Heather Wright
Apr 30, 2015 Heather Wright rated it really liked it
"Fourth Grade Rats" is a realistic fiction book for children of ages 8-12. This book is about a boy who enters the fourth grade and think he has to be the bigger kid at all times and push the younger kids around but he cant because he's rat(likes to snitch), His friend Joey trues to help him and not be rat and less of a wimp now that he entered the fourth grade. The characters in this book were different form each other in many ways. You have Joe who is now trying to be bigger and bad now that h ...more
Oct 23, 2011 Amanda rated it liked it
I figured I might as well start adding the books I read with my students on here. I love Jerry Spinelli. This was pretty amusing, but not as funny as some of his other books I've read. My 4th graders have LOVED it though, if that says anything. :)
May 13, 2012 Kristiina rated it it was amazing
I thought this book was hilarious!!! I laughed out loud numerous times, and at one point I couldn't stop!!! I can't wait to read it to my 4th graders in the fall!!! A perfect chapter book for any boy who is a reluctant reader.
Jan 18, 2008 Julie rated it did not like it
Oh, a little lame. Does any little boy actually decide that since he's in fourth grade, he has to be a jerk now? Eh. Not my favorite Spinelli.
Callie Stillion
Nov 22, 2014 Callie Stillion rated it it was ok
Shelves: all-others
This would have been a 1-star book, but the happy, 'I`m so sorry' part at the end changed that.
I think that the first fact that Suds and Joey are going into fourth grade is a little too far. This book would have been better if it was the summer before Joey, Judy, and Suds go into fourth grade.
Like I said, there was a bit of a jump on the timeline. All we knew in the end of Jerry Spinelli`s Third Grade Angels is that Suds didn`t get the halo. We don`t know anything else about the rest of the scho
Barb Middleton
Apr 09, 2012 Barb Middleton rated it really liked it
Rats! Ages...9.

Sometimes human. Sometimes not.

Preferred speech: dude, Number One, real men don't cry, no, N-O, nope, and ain't.

Grade 4 teachers clamber to read this book aloud to their classes. I can see why. For starters it's short - only 86 pages. It is brimming with funny dialogue. It deals with parents, siblings, friends, bullies, classmates, and boy-girl relationships. It also has a cheeky main character, Sudsie, who changes from an innocent angelic 3rd grader to a beastly 4th grader.

The st
Books Kids Like
Oct 06, 2013 Books Kids Like rated it really liked it
Shelves: spinelli-jerry
“First grade babies!
Second grade cats!
Third grade angels!
Fourth grade…RRRRRATS!”

Suds Morton doesn't want to be a fourth-grade rat. It means giving up his lunch box with the flying elephants and carrying a brown paper sack. Suds would have to eat bologna sandwiches instead of his favorite peanut butter and jelly. He'd have to say no to his Mom and destroy his clean room. He doesn’t want to do these things, but his best-friend Joey Patterson is a rat and is pressuring Suds to be one, too. Suds res
Daniel Franklin
Nov 29, 2013 Daniel Franklin rated it really liked it
Summarize the book
Synopsis taken from the website:
“Suds doesn't mind being in fourth grade, but he doesn't want to be a "rat." Ordinarily, this wouldn't be too much of a problem, except that his best friend, Joey, takes it very seriously. According to Joey, being a rat is the next step up to being a man. And if you're a rat, Joey explains, you can't cry or be afraid of things. You have to leave your lunch box at home, make a mess of your room, and say "no" to your mother. You have
Nov 30, 2012 Robert rated it liked it
It's the beginning of the school year; it's time for Fourth Grade Rats. It's not the greatest book ever written, but my new fourth graders seem to like it each year.

When you're in fourth grade, you're no longer an angel; you're a rat!


We finished this today. Good ol' Suds became a rat only to find out it wasn't quite as satisfying as he had hoped. Except, all seemed fine until he saw Joey had been "re-programmed". Then the happy ending began to kick in.

Mom's line that Suds became a man w
Hailey Layug
May 27, 2014 Hailey Layug rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-school
This was an okay book. The story was really good and recommends this book to kids in elementary school.(Really for the boys). Suds for a minute I thought he would stay like a rat. And Judy Billings, I was expecting more of her and Suds to hang out more but she jusy ditches him near the end. Although I didnt like much if it, it was a good book. But still, kids should have read Frindle. Fourth Grade Rats was a funny, entertaining book.
Jordon Worley
May 22, 2013 Jordon Worley rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pleasure
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 10, 2012 Jen rated it really liked it
Author Study:

Fourth Grade Rats by Jerry Spinelli, is perfect for a 4th grade student to read. I would use this book with my 4th graders as a book choice for literature circles because they can relate to the book. They have all experienced being bullied, being a bully, or pressuring others to be mean to other students. At the school that the two main characters Suds and Joey attend, the 4th graders are "Rats". Suds' best friend Joey is excited about being a rat and bullying younger students. Joe
Randy Tramp
Jan 27, 2015 Randy Tramp rated it really liked it
The Book
Fourth graders are rats. They aren't suppose to be afraid of spiders. They say no to their mom and they push first graders off their swings. That was all according to Joey. Suds needed to be a rat.

My Thoughts:
They story is a good lesson in pier pressure. I kept my attention throughout the entire story. So kids of all ages will be entertained.
Sep 14, 2014 Joan rated it it was amazing
I used the first pages aloud to introduce Spinneli as a good author for fourth graders. When reading the monkey bars part, I climbed up on a chair to shout out,"I'm proud of it." and then stepped down as the boy fell down and hurt his thumb. I stopped after introducing the "girl he loves, but ignores her." Many Spinelli books checked out that day.
Christopher Guinto
This book was about a kid that doesn't want ready to be a 4th-grade rat. The only reason why he changed was so he could get the girl who he liked to like him. I liked this book because it was about a kid who trained to be a rat instead of an angel. I would recommend this book to new readers.
Jamie Gilbert
Feb 25, 2016 Jamie Gilbert rated it really liked it
This was an absolutely darling book. My 9 year old son recommended it to me. He thought it was a great book. It's a story about 2 friends who want to grow up and in the end realize it's better to stay a kid. It's particularly a great message for 3rd/4th/5th grade boys. It will resonate with them.
Brenda Cregor
May 31, 2015 Brenda Cregor rated it liked it
One day, I decided to talk back to my mother JUST as I had seen my cool, rich, popular friend do to her mother. Only, my talk-back session was abruptly stopped by my mother's hand slapping my face.
Love that lady!
There is a similar lesson in this book.
Jesse Baldwin
This book talks about how fourth graders are suppose to be tough kids and one kid doesn't think that he will fit in. I would use this book to teach kids that there is nothing to worry about and they are still going to have their friends with them next year.
Sphinx Feathers
Jul 03, 2016 Sphinx Feathers rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
A quick and cute book about being yourself versus being what others expect you to be. Changing schools (or even grades) can be tough. I would recommend this to a child who is not quite so sure about the process.
Jun 11, 2015 Oliver rated it really liked it
I liked that it showed another preview of the other book. I liked when it showed his lunch box with the flying elephants and when his mom said she would hire a teacher and make her teach Suds all the time in the tub.
Sep 30, 2015 Kym rated it liked it
Shelves: kids-lit
Of course, this is a good read for any kid starting 4th grade. It is also good for parents and teachers of 4th graders. A cute story of figuring out how fast and what it looks like to grow up.
Gabes Lapinski
May 05, 2015 Gabes Lapinski rated it liked it
Shelves: 4th-grade
I chose this book because it would be fun for the fourth graders to read about other fourth graders. It would make a cool and special connection with them and the book.
Rosemary Siguencia
this book was nice because it tolled use that people like us the way we are because the girl never liked the boy even though he climied a tree just to rescued her cat
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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...

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