Cover image for I was a third grade spy
I was a third grade spy
Auch, Mary Jane.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Holiday House, [2001]

Physical Description:
87 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
When Brian's dog Arful suddenly begins talking, Brian and his two friends send the dog to find out what their classmates are planning for the school talent show.
Reading Level:
510 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.3 2.0 50945.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 3.4 5 Quiz: 25186 Guided reading level: N.
Added Author:
Format :


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Competition at a school science fair is taken to the extreme.Believe it or not-and you better believe it-Josh's dog Arful can talk! This is very useful to Josh and his pals who want to win the school talent contest. First the boys have to find out what the girls are planning for the contest. That's when they send Arful to get an earful by spying on the girls. Just wait until show time to see what Arful the spy uncovers.

Author Notes

As a child, Mary Jane Auch loved books and read constantly. Her interest in drawing began as a child and continued through high school. She went on to become an art major at Skidmore College. After graduation, Auch went for New York City, but after a year of designing prints for men's pajamas, she decided she wanted to do something more meaningful with her life. She enrolled in the Occupational Therapy program at Columbia University, and worked for some years in a children's hospital near Hartford, Connecticut.

Eventually, Auch began illustrating for Pennywhistle Press, a national children's newspaper, which led to an interest in illustrating children's books. In the summer of 1984, Auch took a week-long children's writing conference on Cape Cod. Auch finally knew that she wanted to a writer when an instructor told her that sometimes artists find they can paint better pictures with words.

She began sending manuscripts to publishers, writing four novels before she sold the first one. She then sold a second book to another publisher the same week. She continued writing books for older kids, abandoning her dream of illustrating for a while. After writing nine books, she wrote and illustrated The Easter Egg Farm, and has done both ever since.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 2^-4. In I Was a Third Grade Science Fair Project (1998), Brian "Brain" , Josh, and Dougie try to hypnotize Arful the dog into believing he's a cat. But the project misfires, and Josh actually becomes a cat. Even more startling, Arful begins to speak. This hilarious sequel retraces some of the science-fair exploits and launches into the new challenge, a talent contest. The boys must come up with a routine to best their nemesis, Emily Venable. That's when Arful becomes a spy, sneaking into the girls' planning meetings and reporting back to the boys, with plenty of funny misunderstandings. Arful's secret is finally revealed during the show with laugh-out-loud consequences, including gentle mockery of the school principal. Narrated in alternating chapters by Josh and Arful, this lively, intermediate chapter book is a good choice for introducing readers to the notion of multiple points of view; speaker icons at the bottom of each page reinforce help readers keep track. Illustrations by Herm Auch are scattered throughout the book. --Gillian Engberg

Publisher's Weekly Review

After Josh was hypnotized into thinking he was a cat in I Was a Third Grade Science Fair Project, in this sequel his dog, Artful, can talk. The canine's ability to report back on the doings of their nemesis, Emily, has its uses. Ages 7-10. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-4-A perfectly silly sequel to Auch's hilarious I Was a Third Grade Science Project (Holiday, 1998). This book immediately engages readers with a laugh and a bit of a shock-the first chapter is narrated by Arful the dog. In the earlier title, his owner, Brian "the Brain," and his friends tried to hypnotize Arful into thinking he was a cat, but it was Josh who developed a taste for raw fish, instead. Here, Josh is returned to normal, but Arful can talk. Many short and entertaining scenes ensue as the boys try to win the upcoming talent show and send the dog to spy on the competition. The canine's perceptions and worldview, shared for the first time because of his new vocabulary, provide most of the laughs. The short chapters are narrated alternately by Josh and Arful with postage-stamp-sized illustrations at the beginning of each chapter indicating whose turn it is to "speak." The pace of the story suits the audience and the genre, and the language is well balanced throughout. This title will be a welcome addition to any collection looking for more funny, easy chapter books.-Piper L. Nyman, Fairfield/Suisun Community Library, Fairfield, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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