Elementary: Trends Younger

Trouble at School for Marvin & James

Elise Broach









James and Marvin are best friends, which wouldn’t be unusual except for the fact that James is a boy and Marvin is a beetle. Welcome to the world created by Elise Broach in her award-winning children’s novel, Masterpiece. The companion introductory chapter book series, The Masterpiece Adventures, revels in the magic of this unlikely friendship.

“There are no mistakes, just happy accidents.”

Trouble at School for Marvin and James starts when James has the great idea to tuck Marvin in his shirt pocket and take him to school. It is Art Class day, and James really wants his little artist pal to learn from his art teacher, Mr. Chang. However, Marvin can’t possibly stay in James’s pocket when there is art to be made. So the beetle joins in the creative fun, adding color and texture to a pastel drawing of a Monarch butterfly. Despite a close call with Mr. Chang, Marvin loves art class and creating with his friend.

“At first, Marvin is too surprised to be scared.”

The rest of the morning passes easily enough until it is time for lunch in the noisy chaos of the cafeteria. An unfortunately timed sneeze from one of James’s friends launches a series of mishaps that land the beetle in that most horrible place – the cafeteria trash can!

Is Marvin destined for the dumpster and the landfill beyond? Will his friend come to his rescue? Will all the new experiences be worth the stink?

“Mistakes in life can be happy accidents too. Because even if a mistake is scary, it can help you see something differently. And it can lead you to someplace new.”

After some family hugs and a much-needed bath, Marvin reflects on his adventure. It turns out, Mr. Chang’s wisdom about taking risks and making mistakes applies to more than just art class. Marvin’s reflections are sure to resonate with your students and families, sparking conversations about being open to adventure – but always asking permission first!

Masterpiece - Elise Broach

You can pair Trouble at School for Marvin and James with Masterpiece as an Introductory Chapter Book Companion to extend your schoolwide reading program to include your youngest students and families needing more literacy support.

Or you can use Trouble at School for Marvin and James independently for your whole school. It is perfect for primary schools serving the youngest learners.

The book comes with a full complement of Read to Them school and home materials to surround your students with literacy.

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