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100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

Top 10 Circulated Books 2012: 3rd-4th Grade

The end of the school year is a crazy time, I tell you. All of a sudden, things that would never appear in a teacher’s lounge at any other time, things like this…

…all of a sudden show up.

But I’d like to focus on a non-slushie order of business today – popular books. I’ve combed through statistics to find out which books were the most popular of the 2011-12 campaign. Here they are for my 3rd and 4th grade school, in all their countdown glory.

10. Attack of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons : a Calvin and Hobbes Collection by Bill Watterson

Love it that this snuck on the list. It was unexpected for me – I knew Calvin and Hobbes still went out a lot, but I underestimated the overall circulations. I’m updating our C & H offerings next year to meet demand.

9. Bad Kitty Meets the Baby by Nick Bruel

There have been rumblings for a while, but this is the year Bad Kitty ascended to the top echelon of our checkout ranks. I don’t think we can have enough of these.

8. Dogs for Kids! Everything You Need to Know About Dogs by Kristin Mehus-Roe

If you don’t have this in your library, I highly recommend it. While I like to maintain a strict “no pets” policy at home, I’m all for feeding student demand at school.

7. Guinness World Records 2012

You knew it was coming, right? High interest hall of fame material.

6. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney

Our first Wimpy Kid sighting. Jeff Kinney’s series has been as popular as ever. It’s odd to actually see one on the shelf.

5. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw by Jeff Kinney

Our second Wimpy Kid sighting.

4. Adventures in Cartooning by James Sturm, Andrew Arnold, Alexis Frederick-Frost

This was a surprise. I’d seen kids coming in and asking for this book by name this year, which had never happened before, but I didn’t expect it to beat out the other books on this list to land at #4. This junior guide to comics deserves all the attention it’s getting.

3. A Bad Kitty Christmas by Nick Bruel

Bad Kitty returns to the list at the not-to-shabby #3 slot. This is one of the picture book offerings, so I was slightly surprised to see that it was checked out to more students than the chapter books. Note to self: stock up on Bad Kitty for 2012-13.

2. Guinness World Records 2011

Remember the olden days when the only Guinness was that insanely thick black and white number? And kids read the bejesus out of that. Adding color and appealing design has turned something popular into something that circulates nonstop.

1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth by Jeff Kinney

Look, folks – this is the way it goes – the most recent Wimpy Kid that has an entire school year to circulate (as opposed to the latest book, Cabin Fever, which came out in November) takes the top slot. That’s how things work.

I’ll be sharing the top of the top for my other schools in the near future.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. I love these posts. They help me decide what to order for my classroom library.

  2. Wow! This really reminds me that what I love is not necessarily what kids want… A good thing to remember.

  3. This Top 10 list doesn’t surprise me, but they aren’t ones I would pick at all! Shows how different kids taste can be from adults.

  4. Interesting trend! Looks like an attention span/fluency issue is going on. Those books were also red-hot in my classroom. I actually had to put my World Record books in a closed cabinet because kids fought over them! Enjoyed your blog today and will return for more!

  5. My son loves Adventures in Cartooning! I didn’t know that others had heard of this book. It’s great!

  6. Not to say I’m *that* old, but our elementary school didn’t seem to even have back-to-back years of the Guinness Book. I remember the days of the black-and-white versions also. If I recall, we couldn’t even check those out.

    Many library visits had far tables broken up due to rowdiness, resulting in that book being taken away.

    • Ha- I’m glad that things seem to be changing toward letting the guinness books circulate. They still cause rowdiness though.

  7. As one of the authors of Adventures in Cartooning I was thrilled to see our book hanging out with such well circulated company! Thanks for posting.