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The Top 10 Ways to Ruin the First Day of School
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The Top 10 Ways to Ruin the First Day of School

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  422 ratings  ·  72 reviews
Special Ten-Year Anniversary Edition!

Over 122,000 copies in print!

Originally published as The Top 10 Ways to Ruin the First Day of 5th Grade, but now it has a new cover and a new title, The Top 10 Ways to Ruin the First Day of School. It is the same humorous book with the same humorous story that kids love!

An International Reading Association and Children's Book Council "C
Paperback, 142 pages
Published April 5th 2014 by Illusion Publishing (first published 2004)
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Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  422 ratings  ·  72 reviews

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Alondra Rodriguez
Nov 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is about a kid that thinks of things how to ruin the 5 grade. I like this book because it has so much detail for you to understand the book. I recommend his book to 5 grade because of the story it gives you about 5 grade and what not to do an o listen to your teacher read this book it will help you
Oct 23, 2014 rated it liked it
I read this book aloud to my students and, for the most part, we had a lot of good laughs. Since we live in Vietnam, many of the U.S. references (and there were A LOT), were not contextually challenging for us. There were many times I had to show clips of The Late Show, image search football fields, and stop to explain jokes. Because of this, we actually learned a lot from the book.

I am giving the book three stars however, because it seemed as though it would only be appropriate for students in
Amy Oaks
Aug 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I always begin the school year reading this book to my new 5th grade students. It is a hilarious and silly read that really units the entire class, both students and teachers can relate to the story in their own ways.
Alayna Fontenot
I like this book because it talks about how kids going to be in school and that if they be good then they will have fun with the teacher and that if the kids be bad then they have to stay in and do they work that they did do and why I like it because its fuuny and I can read it over and over.
Kaethe Douglas
The PandaBat selected this, and then passed it on to me when she finished. No book built around stupid human tricks can be all bad, can it?


Our story involves three fifth-graders from Kansas City and their teacher: Tony Baloney, Anna Banana, Mo, and Mr. Gore. TB does every stupid thing that occurs to him the moment it does, Anna and Mo assist. Tony's great dream is to be on the Late Show with David Letterman, to which end he keeps doing stupid stuff and then writing a letter to his idol which
I couldn't finish this book, though I tried mightily. It had come highly recommended from someone who had listed other humorous books that I had liked (Long Way from Chicago, No More Dead Dogs), so anticipation was high. The action didn't make sense to me - not even remotely - to the point that I was annoyed by the book's events and character decisions. I understand that the action was slapstick funny - it would probably be hilarious in a movie - but it wasn't book funny. ...more
Feb 15, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chn-humour
My edition was titled "The Top 10 Ways to Ruin the First Day of School" but is identical. All I can say is, am I glad that Tony Baloney isn't one of my fifth graders...! Very funny, even though exaggerated at times, and surely a winner with every kid reader. Just to give you a little taste: try imagining someone jump-roping on a toilet seat, interrupting a football match by stealing the ball, causing havoc among a gang of bikers in New York City - yes, things sort of happen to Tony Baloney, whic ...more
Jan 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
Overall, this book was not bad but also not good. It wasn't really enjoyable to me. The book, The Top 10 Ways to Ruin the First Day of School, was about a 5th grade student who did crazy things to get on a TV show he really liked. The book title says much about the style of the writing. The author's intentions were to write for elementary students, around 5th and 6th grade. It had easy vocabulary and a very childish humor. However, for me, I am not a great reader so even though the book was for ...more
Oct 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this book would be on my top ten list.It is very interesting and fun to listen my teacher read it to our class.Every time she starts reading it i pay so much attenchion its like im addicted to the book when i listen to it.The author did a really good job on this book.
I love The Top Ten Ways to Ruin the First Day of School by Ken Derby
Jan 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tony Baloney loves the Late Show with David Lettermen and he gets in so much trouble by doing stupid tricks and jokes from the show. He writes letters to David Lettermen saying how much he loves his show, and one day is invited to New York to be on the show.

I liked this book it was hilarious, I loved it a lot.

I would definetly recommend this book it was really good.

i think this book was amazing it talks about a boy who chases his dreams and meets them!!!through his travels in NEW YORK CITY he meets many stars and celebraties!!!as he said in the book problems just happens to him and he was right!!i hope you get a chance to read this unpredictable book it was soooo outstanding!!!!!!!!!1
Jan 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very funny book. T.B. has done many pranks to be on The Late Show With David Letterman. He finally gets to be on the show along with his friends. I think this has been the best book I have ever read.
Andrew Kiley
Sep 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this book was very funny and has great little stories about TB and his friends being on the David Letterman's late night show. If you really like humor and funny books, i think you should read this. ...more
Oct 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book because they talk about real shows and teams.
Gina Ruffcorn
It was a funny, lighthearted book.
I picked this book because the cover and what was written on it made it seem interesting. Basically, this book is about a kid that is obsessed with the Late Show with David Letterman. He makes all these lists and wants to be on the show. He keeps on sending David letters of these list and asks to the be on the show and says that he would do anything to get on there. The book was kind of funny, I just felt that it was very one note and there wasn't a lot of difference happening in the book. ...more
Christina  Edward
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a good book and I would want to reads it over and over again if I would want to but I don't like reading books over and over again and that is so I have to sy because I just had to do that and that I would have a lot to say if I could but if have no time and that is all I really want to say and 🙋🙋🙋🙋bye ...more
Ronda Perry
May 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book my grandson actually liked to read

My grandson needed to read a book for a book report for school. He's in the 5th grade. He does not like to read. I found this book for him. He said, after the first few chapters, that this book is funny and is not the dumb book he thought I'd pick for him! That says volumes for him! Thanks for the enjoyable read.
B.J. Hyman
I kind of liked this book. I'm no stranger to young fiction and I was mainly reading this one for research. There were moments that just lost me though. I also found typos...which is unforgivable if this is truly a 10 year anniversary edition. With 10 years to check, it should be pristine. ...more
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
I checked this book out after a few people recommended it as a great back to school read, but I just didn't care for it. I thought the writing was weak, and I've read funnier, more realistic books. Not for me. ...more
Thiha Htoo Sett
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
I think this book will be funny and interesting.
Nov 08, 2017 rated it did not like it
It had a lot of fun and exciting moments and funny parts.
Mrs. Schuld
Jul 06, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I’m pretty sure this is the worst book I’ve ever read. It was like reading a fantasy, except fantasies are more realistic. None of this stuff would have ever happened.
Nov 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: e2
My son liked that then end was funny. But did not enjoy how slow that book started.
Kristin Gebhardt
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent read. My third graders begged me to read it everyday! We loved it.
Dec 12, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2.5 rounded up to 3

Another read-aloud in 4th grade,,, it was eh? I don't really remember much about it, tbh.
Sep 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What do you think is the worst way to ruin the first day of school? Wearing your pajamas? Tripping I front of the whole school? What about jumping rope over a flushing toilet? On the first day of school, tony wants to jump rope over a toilet. He did 3 jumps, but then... Tony and his friend, Mo,thought they were dead. Water was leaking onto the floor. The principle had to call 911 to get Tony's foot unstuck. Read Top 10 Ways to Ruin the 1st Day of School to find out more. ...more
Charlie B
Jun 02, 2016 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Had you ever read a book that is so funny you just laugh and laugh? My class and I did and we laugh all the time.

A normal kid named Tony Baloney from Kansas City and his friend Mo, Anna will do anything to get on the Late Night Show of David Letterman. Tony Baloney will do any mischievous thing he could imagine to get on the show. He always cause trouble for his friends even though they did not even do it.

I love this book because it is very funny and very detailed so that I could have a very cle
May 31, 2015 rated it did not like it
This book could be counted as funny, but I found the characters too unbelievable to enjoy it. Tony Baloney gets into a lot of ridiculous situations, but no one appears to stop him. Several trips to the Principal's office and groundings by his parents do nothing but make it slightly more difficult for Tony to misbehave. Tony is determined to misbehave as he wants to become famous for causing his parents great exasperation. His parents are models for bad parenting. Their daughter is out of control ...more
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Ken Derby is a slightly famous author, monkey trainer, twelve-minute rock star, five-minute TV star, two-minute movie star, fisherman, and former CIA operative (okay . . . not really). When he isn't teaching or writing, he might be found reading, working out, biking, or rooting for the Denver Broncos. Ken lives in Budapest, Hungary and teaches grade five at the American International School of Bud ...more

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