All Four Stars – A Good Summer Read

If you are looking for novels to recommend to your middle grade students for summer reading, All Four Stars by Tara Dairman might be a good one to add to your list.  In All Four Stars, the young heroine, Gladys Gatsby, cooks her way through a sequence of unlikely misadventures and somehow becomes a New York restaurant critic while still in sixth grade! The story is fun, funny, and sure to make you hungry – just the thing for a great summer read!


All Four Stars- A good summer read


Here are a few ideas for activities to go along with the book – nothing too strenuous since we’re thinking summer here –


  1. Restaurant Review

Gladys wasn’t much for fast food, but maybe some of you are big fans of the stuff.  Whether it is about your favorite burger and fries place, a super-healthy smoothie stand, or a fancy restaurant, write your own restaurant review.

  1. Recipe Research

In the story, Gladys tried recipes from a variety of cultures.  As a follow-up mini-research activity, look up more recipes from each of the cultures mentioned in All Four Stars and then create a small recipe book with your favorites.

  1. Refrigerator List

The lists on the refrigerator in Gladys’s house spelled out her rules – what she was allowed to do and what she wasn’t.  What are the rules in your house?  Make two “refrigerator lists,” lists of things that you are allowed to do and things that you aren’t in your own house.

  1. Book Review

Gladys wanted to write restaurant reviews, but not all reviews are about food.  Some critics write reviews of books!  Write your own review of All Four Stars.  Tell what you liked and what you didn’t like about the book and who you would recommend it to. Be sure to give it a rating of one to four stars.

  1. Dream Job

Gladys dreamed of being a restaurant critic, but writing about food may be the last thing some of you want to do as an adult.  Make a colorful poster that shows how great your own dream job could be.

  1. Key Scenes

Some of the key scenes that move the story along in All Four Stars are with Gladys and one of her friends, Parm or Sandy, or with the popular girl, Charissa.  Draw a scene involving Gladys and one of these other students, and add a caption telling why this scene was important in the story.

  1. Persuasive Writing

Since some of the events in the story (like becoming a paid restaurant critic in 6th grade!) are a tad unrealistic, a good question might be, “Do you think that this event could really happen?”   What do you think? Choose one event in the story and then write a short, persuasive argument defending your opinion.


Related Resources

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Linked with The Owl Teacher for Mentor Text Monday and with The Literary Maven for Page Turners :




One response to “All Four Stars – A Good Summer Read”

  1. Andrea says:

    Thanks for linking up again this week! This looks like a fun book that I may have to read this summer. I love the ideas too!


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