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Otherwise Known As Sheila The Great (2007)

Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great (2007)
3.92 of 5 Votes: 4
0142408794 (ISBN13: 9780142408797)
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Otherwise Known As Sheila The Great (...
Otherwise Known As Sheila The Great (2007)

About book: Genre: Nonfiction Children's bookAge: 8+ years oldSummary: Another addition to the Fudge books follows Peter’s nemesis, Sheila Tubman. This fun-loving book looks at who Sheila really is, the outgoing bright Sheila the Great that she shows the world, or the Sheila she is in private who is afraid of bugs, swimming, the dark and dogs. Her life seems to take a turn for the worst when her and her parents leave for the summer and she has to face her fears of dogs and take swim lessons! She acts all tough on the outside, but finds it difficult to hide her true self when she meets Mouse Ellis who isn’t buying her tough girl act.Comments:This book is a great addition to the Fudge series! Instead of following Peter and Fudge, this book follows a girl character which makes it more appealing to girls. This book has a great message especially for younger girls who could be struggling with who they are and fitting in.Observations:The main character Sheila is a great example for girls. She is strong and tries her hardest. Although she does face some hardships with who she is, she is a great example for young girls who are still trying to figure themselves out.Questions:Why wasn't Sheila included in previous Fudge series books? How did Blume come up with her character?Use in Classroom: You could have them make a poster with a picture of themselves and write a biography on themselves with their likes/dislikes, fears, activities etc. Each student can see who he or she is similar and different from in a non-threatening and fun way.Theme:The theme of this book is to stay true to yourself and to also face your fears. Sheila is a combination of a tough girl, but at the same time she is also afraid of a lot of things. She shows girls and boys that it is okay to be a little different and that it is okay to have fears. But this book teaches students that it is important to face and conquer your fears.Criticism:This book was great and is a great tool for young girls. This book had great lessons embedded in it and still keeps the reader laughing and wanting to keep reading. This book can be for so many ages because the lesson is universal and every girl especially needs to understand that it is okay to be yourself.Format: Chapter bookRace/Ethnicity: N\AGender: This book deals with a girl growing up and facing her fears. Young girls will be able to identify with Sheila. Socioeconomic status: N\ACitation: Blume, J., & Doty, R. (1972). Otherwise known as Sheila the Great. New York: E.P. Dutton (Firm).

So how exactly does this get classified as a "Fudge book"? Fudge is not in it, although his brother Peter makes a very brief cameo. I don't know what order they were written in, but at the very most this appears to be a spin-off of Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.Sheila Tubman, last seen being forced by Peter Hatcher and Jimmy Fargo to remove her name from the cover of a school report the three of them worked on together, takes center stage in this book. Her family leaves the city for the summer for Tarrytown, living at the home of one of her father's professor colleagues. I never read this book as a kid, but I can say that even though I am now close to 40 that I quite enjoyed this book. Judy Blume has gained notoriety for her more controversial works, but what shouldn't be lost is the fact that she is a really good children's author. She has the skill to understand how children think and then write about it in a way that the reader can relate to.Sheila Tubman is a little bit of a phony. Holden Caulfield would hate her. She covers up her fears and insecurities with stories and excuses. For example, when she meets potential new friend Mouse Ellis, who is a whiz at the yo-yo, Sheila explains that she used to be an accomplished yo-yoist as well, but has forgotten most of the tricks because it was years ago and if she practiced they would all come back to her. As she's only 10 years old, Mouse eventually realizes that Sheila is full of crap and asks her why she doesn't just admit to not being able to do something.I never was in auto shop, but once a peer told me about what an idiot the shop teacher was because he didn't know that there weren't spark plugs on a diesel. I played along, as if of course this was as basic as the ABCs or 2+2. (I had no clue about diesel mechanics.) My friend said, "See, even you know that!" So I made myself out to be more knowledgeable about a subject than I actually was in order to gain esteem with my social group, which was a total Sheila Tubman move.I don't know that Sheila ever completely gets over this character flaw within the pages of this book, although she does make some progress. But maybe the lesson that is being taught here is - be true to who you really are and people will like you anyways. Maybe even more than if you keep concocting tall tales.
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Sheila is a sad, dreadful character that while possibly an accurate account of some kid's childhood and thus an opportunity for empathetic understanding makes for a slog of a read. The cruelty and lies that come from childhood fear and self-loathing come across as more pathetic than funny or endearing to this reader. Much beloved author Judy Blume, is often compared to Beverly Cleary, but Blume is a poor substitute for Cleary. While Cleary's characters have foibles, they are always generally likable and you can see them learning and growing with each page. Blume's characters learn in stilted fashion and leave me with a much worse taste in my mouth. I'll take Ramona Quimby over Sheila the Great any day.
Again, I'm not a Judy Blume fan, but I liked the "Fudge" books when I was a kid. While Fudge is not in this book at all, and Peter is only at the beginning....the book centers around Sheila (who appears in all of the "Fudge" books). One thing I normally like about books is that the main character has an arc...they grow and change throughout the book. Sheila is as rude and annoying at the end as she is at the beginning. Another thing I didn't like about this edition...the original was written in 1972, so they updated it with a CD player and a PC...but other stuff wasn't updated, and it just didn't work.
Meghan Albright
Sheila The Great, by Judy Blume is a great book. I rated it a four because it had everyday life but it was funnier. I think this would go to the category story because it's fiction. I won't spoil the surprise of the book, but I will tell you what it is about. It is about a 5th grade girl who goes to a house for the summer. She's afraid of dogs, and states her summer is ruined because they have a dog at the house. She makes many friends and new adventures. If it sounds interesting to you, don't wait and let me tell you about it. Go read it yourself!
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