Cover image for Crash
Title:
Crash
Author:
Spinelli, Jerry.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First Knopf Paperback edition.
Publication Information:
New York : [Random House], 1997.

©1996
Physical Description:
162 pages ; [20] cm
Summary:
Seventh-grader John "Crash" Coogan has always been comfortable with his tough, aggressive behavior, until his relationship with an unusual Quaker boy and his grandfather's stroke make him consider the meaning of friendship and the importance of family.
General Note:
"A Knopf paperback."

Also published by Dell Laurel-Leaf, an imprint of Random House Children's Books.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
560 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 3.6 4.0 14993.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 4.8 9 Quiz: 02585 Guided reading level: V.
ISBN:
9780679885504

9781439521359

9780440238577
Format :
Book

Available:*

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On Order

Summary

Summary

A modern classic from Newbery medalist Jerry Spinelli.

"Readers will devour this humorous glimpse of what jocks are made of." -- School Library Journal , starred review

Cocky seventh-grade super-jock Crash Coogan got his nickname the day he used his first football helmet to knock his cousin Bridget flat on her backside. And he has been running over people ever since, especially Penn Webb, the dweeby, vegetarian Quaker kid who lives down the block. Through the eyes of Crash, readers get a rare glimpse into the life of a bully in this unforgettable and beloved story about stereotypes and the surprises life can bring.

"Without being preachy, Spinelli packs a powerful moral wallop, leaving it to the pitch-perfect narration to drive home his point" -- Publishers Weekly

"Spinelli's writing style is great for kids in this age-group, fast-paced and funny." -- Booklist


Author Notes

Jerry Spinelli was born in Norristown, Pennsylvania on February 1, 1941. He received a bachelor's degree from Gettysburg College and a master's degree from Johns Hopkins University. He worked as an editor with Chilton from 1966 to 1989. He launched his career in children's literature with Space Station 7th Grade in 1982. He has written over 30 books including The Bathwater Gang, Picklemania, Stargirl, Milkweed, and Mama Seeton's Whistle. In 1991, he won the Newbery Award for Maniac Magee. In 1998, Wringer was named a Newbery Honor book.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 5^-7. Seventh-grader Crash Coogan is a jock, a jokester, and a tormenter of dweeb Penn Webb. The book gets off to a hilarious start as Crash recalls his first meeting with Penn at age six. Penn, recently arrived from North Dakota, wears a button honoring that state's bird, which proclaims, "I'm a Flickertale." Let the hassling begin. From there, the plot becomes rather predictable. Crash's beloved grandfather comes to live with the Coogans, and when he suffers a stroke, Crash finds himself with a vein of empathy that wasn't evident before. At the book's conclusion, Crash and Penn are pitted against each other in a big race, but Crash, knowing that Penn's great-grandfather is there to watch, makes the ultimate sacrifice of compassion over competition. Spinelli's writing style is great for kids in this age-group, fast-paced and funny. And while it's plain where events are leading Crash, the strongly drawn characters, rather than the plot, become the focal point. Even though girls will read this, too, here's one for the boys. --Ilene Cooper


Publisher's Weekly Review

Spinelli (There's a Girl in My Hammerlock) takes the brawny, bullying jock who is the villain in so many middle-grade novels and casts him as the narrator of this agile tale. Ever since first grade "Crash" Coogan has been tormenting dweeby Penn Ward, a skinny vegetarian Quaker boy who lives in a tiny former garage with his aged parents. Now that they're in seventh grade, "chippy chirpy perky" Penn becomes an even better target: not only does Penn still wear outdated used clothes, he joins the cheerleading squad. But even though Crash becomes the school's star football player and wears the most expensive togs from the mall, he still can't get what Penn has‘his parents' attention and the admiration of the most gorgeous girl in school. And when his beloved grandfather Scooter is severely disabled by a stroke, Crash no longer sees the fun in playing brutal pranks and begins to realize that there are more important things in life than wearing new sneaks and being a sports star. Without being preachy, Spinelli packs a powerful moral wallop, leaving it to the pitch-perfect narration to drive home his point. All ages. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8‘A winning story about seventh-grade Crash Coogan's transformation from smug jock to empathetic, mature young man. In a clever, breezy first-person style, Spinelli tackles gender roles, family relationships, and friendship with humor and feeling. As the novel opens, Crash feels passionately about many things: the violence of football; being in charge; the way he looks in shoulder pads; never being second in anything; and the most expensive sneakers at the mall. Although a stereotypical bully, the boy becomes more than one-dimensional in the context of his overworked, unavailable parents and the love he has for his grandfather, who comes to live with the Coogans and then suffers a stroke. It is because of his affection for Scooter that Crash comes to appreciate Penn Webb, a neighbor and classmate whom for years Crash has tormented and teased about his pacifism, vegetarianism, second-hand clothes, and social activism. Penn relentlessly offers friendship, which Crash finally accepts when he sees Penn's love for his own great-grandfather as a common bond. The story concludes as Penn, named by his great-grandfather for Philadelphia's famous Penn Relays, wins the school race while the elderly man looks on. Readers will devour this humorous glimpse at what jocks are made of while learning that life does not require crashing helmet-headed through it.‘Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

My real name is John. John Coogan. But everybody calls me Crash, even my parents. It started way back when I got my first football helmet for Christmas. I don't really remember this happening, but they say that when my uncle Herm's family came over to see our presents, as they were coming through the front door I got down into a four-point stance, growled, "Hut! Hut! Hut!" and charged ahead with my brand-new helmet. Seems I knocked my cousin Bridget clear back out the doorway and onto her butt into a foot of snow. They say she bawled bloody murder and refused to come into the house, so Uncle Herm finally had to drag his whole family away before they even had a chance to take their coats off. Like I said, personally I don't remember the whole thing, but looking back at what I do remember about myself, I'd have to say the story is probably true. As far as I can tell, I've always been crashing--into people, into things, you name it, with or without a helmet. From the Hardcover edition. Excerpted from Crash by Jerry Spinelli All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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