Fourth Grade Rats – by Spinelli

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Realistic Fiction

Friends and Friendship, Growing Up, Elementary School, Peer Pressure

Summary: Fourth grade is all about mixed emotions of wanting to grow up and stay a child at the same time. It’s a story about two friends, Joey and Suds, both of whom just started fourth grade. Joey is excited to become a fourth grade “rat”, who bullies younger kids, says “no” to his mother, messes up his room, puts tattoos on himself, doesn’t want to take a bath for a month, lets a bee sting him, etc. All of which makes him one step closer to becoming a man. Joey comes up with some pretty funny rules on growing up, such as, “If you want to grow up, you got to eat stuff you don’t like (8).” On the other hand, Suds is not sure about wanting to be a rat or act like one until Joey gets attention from the girl he likes, Judy Billings. The novel depicts a real picture of fourth graders who are stuck between their childhood and preteen years while being pulled in both directions all the time.


“First grade babies!

Second grade cats!

Third grade angels!

Fourth grade……RRRRRAts!” (1) 


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