Booktalk for FAMOUS FAILS by Crispin Boyer

Undertaking a big project can lead to a dazzling success…or an epic fail. There are plenty of books about great achievements. This one is about messy mistakes.

The Tacoma Narrows Bridge, up near Seattle, was considered to be a marvel of modern engineering when it was built in 1940. It was the third longest suspension bridge in the world at the time. Just four months after it was finished, there was a wind storm, and the whole bridge completely collapsed.

Here’s another one: A man thought it was a good idea to try to break a relative out of prison—while dressed in a giant Snoopy costume. Not only did he get himself arrested, but the family member he was trying to help out wasn’t even in that prison. He was at another site a few miles away.


Genre: nonfiction

Grades 4-7.


Anna’s take on it:

This is a high-interest nonfiction title that kids really get into. It’s visually stimulating—and funny. I used it with fourth, fifth, and sixth graders. Nobody could believe that a person would actually dress up in a giant Snoopy costume to break a relative out of prison. When students came up to look at the book display after my presentation, there would always be a cluster of kids leafing through this one, laughing.