If you're looking for an extremely interesting, attention-holding teaching aid for third graders to help prepare them for EOG (End of Grade) tests, you'll find that Attack of the Chicken Nugget Man: A North Carolina EOG Adventure is a valuable teaching resource. Though it is specifically directed to North Carolina third grade teachers, it can be used by teachers and parents no matter what state you live in. It would require that one changes certain references to North Carolina history, politicians, and geography to fit the equivalent facts from whatever state one happens to live in, but this can be done relatively easily. The point is that the book can be a very useful way to teach kids, using humor, and a strong story line involving the plight of a third grader (Chris Robb) who has problems paying attention in class.
Attack of the Chicken Nugget Man can be read by the students or by their teacher or parents, in conjunction with lesson plans related to each chapter. There are letters and numbers at the end of some of the sentences, which correspond to a chart at the back of the book that lets the teacher/parents know what part of the curriculum and EOG test the material is covering. An example of this is when one of Chris's classmates, Alex, who only remembers past lesson plans because he ran his head into a metal pole, interrupts the teacher, Ms. Bubblebrain and other students), to shout out the types of sentences they're using (the "E" is this example refers to English, and the "33" to knowing the different types of sentences):
"Settle down," Mrs. Bubblebrain said.
Chris seems to get into trouble every day. It's not because he's bad or mischievous, but because his attention drifts and he finds it difficult to retain knowledge. Still, Ms. Bubblebrain tries her best to get him to learn and respond correctly to questions she asks him in class. He daydreams about things like flying purple hamsters, though, and asks to use the restroom or get a drink from the water faucet, to try to be out of the classroom as much as possible.
What the teachers, kids, and parents are all concerned about is that at any moment, the kids might be attacked and eaten by the Chicken Nugget Man. Even the President issues warnings about him. The Chicken Nugget Man turns out to be, as Chris discovers, a harmless and tiny person shaped like a chicken nugget. The Chicken Nugget Man makes a deal with Chris to help him learn if Chris will feed him things like stinky socks.
"Imperative sentence! Alex said. E33
"Stop saying that!" Carmela shouted.
"Imperative and exclamatory." Alex said. E33
Each short chapter is humorous, which is a good way to attract and keep the attention of students, and the plot is engaging. Students will want to keep on reading or listening to their teacher/parent to learn what will happen next to Chris and his classmates, like Tuna Tommy, a kid who always leaves parts of his lunch in his desk until they start to rot and stink the room up. Chris can't even seem to remember his teacher's name, calling her things like Ms. Bubblegum or Ms. Bobblehead. Kids are sure to get a kick out of the funny bits in the book, as well as learning important concepts they'll be tested over.
A couple of the elements I really liked about the book, other than its use of humor, are the "Knowledge Nuggets," scattered throughout, and the questions at the end of each chapter Ms. Bubblebrain has written on the chalkboard for her students to read and answer, based upon what they've read (or heard, as the case may be). The "Knowledge Nuggets," sometimes present added information, or ask the students to do a simple math problem related to what they've read/heard, or further explains a vocabulary word in a chapter, like the word "scarcity."
The end of chapter questions Ms. Bubblebrain has written on her chalkboard are always headed by the funny underlined words: "For the love of sweaty bacon soda, answer these questions!" She has an interesting way with words, but the questions are a good means for teachers/parents to ask kids questions to see what the students have learned from the chapter. There's an Analysis Question, a Synthesis Question, and an Evaluation Question for the kids to answer.
Attack of the Chicken Nugget Man is a book that, when incorporated with related material, can be a very useful learning tool. It certainly can't be accused of being dull and boring, which many textbooks are in the opinion of students. The only thing I think would make this book any better is the possible addition of an animated DVD to go along with it. Also, though the book can be used relatively easily by teachers from states other than North Carolina, I think it might be a good idea to eventually publish versions of it for every state. Then, this valuable educational resource could reach an even wider audience. I highly recommend it and believe it will be a great success in the classroom to help students prepare for the EOG.
REVIEWED BY DOUGLAS R. COBB
Thanks for visiting!