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The Junkyard Wonders



Last updated Friday, July 13, 2012

Author: Patricia Polacco
Illustrator: Patricia Polacco
Date of Publication: 2010
ISBN: 0399250786
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jul. 2012

Synopsis: When young Trisha finds out her class at the new school is known as ?The Junkyard,? she is devastated. She moved from her old town so she wouldn't be in a special class anymore! But then she meets her teacher, the quirky and invincible Mrs. Peterson, and her classmates, an oddly brilliant group of students each with his or her own unique talent. And it is here in The Junkyard that Trisha learns the true meaning of genius, and that this group of misfits are, in fact, wonders, all of them. Based on a real-life event in Patricia Polacco's childhood, this ode to teachers will inspire all readers to find their inner genius.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Vocabulary

•  Summoned: called for by command, message, or signal.
•  Gawky: clumsy
•  Brusque: abrupt in manner; blunt; rough
•  Podium: a small platform used by a public speaker
•  Snarled: to speak in a surly or threatening manner suggestive of a dog's snarl.
•  Lacquer: varnish
•  Stupendous: astounding; marvelous
•  Destined: ordained, appointed, or predetermined to be or do something.
•  Unanimous: characterized by, or showing, complete agreement
•  Speculated: to engage in thought or reflection; meditate

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What is a junkyard? Have you ever been to one?

Do you know anyone with a disability?

Do you have difficulty doing things that others do easily?

What can you do that other kids can't?

Craft ideas:
•  Make paper airplanes. Sample airplane and instructions will be available at the club. Don't forget to put a paperclip (provided) on the nose of the airplane so it will fly better! We really like this design!

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!