Starring Jules: Third Grade Debut by Beth Ain

Starring Jules: Third Grade Debut
(Starring Jules: Book Four)
Written by Beth Ain. Illustrated by Anne Keenan Higgins
Middle Grade
Published in Australia September 2014
176 Pages
Thank you to Allen and Unwin
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How I Know I'm Not In Second Grade Anymore by Jules Bloom

1. My new teacher wears Hawaiian shirts and runs a tight ship (which has a lot do with a certain behaviour chart).

2. There is a very third grade sounding project called the Wax Museum, which has nothing to do with wax and everything do with turning into an important famous person.

3. I also have to turn into someone else at sitcom rehearsal, and let's just say I'm glad there is no behaviour chart there!

Jules is a third grader at last! But so far, the reviews aren't so good. Her new teacher makes her feel totally tongue tied. Charlotte shows up on the first day wearing the one thing Jules really wants but will never get. And she already has homework, researching a famous person to become for the class wax museum project. But how will she decide who to be when she barely knows who she is in the first place?

Even worse, her after school sitcom rehearsals are harder than ever, and the TV show is about to air for all the world to see. Jules needs to find her inner superstar if third grade is ever going to be a smash hit.
Starting a new school year can be daunting for anyone but when you're Jules Bloom, the transition to Mr. Santorini's third grade class is downright frightening. If only she were back in the second grade again. Allied with best friend Elinor, former best friend Charlotte and the sometimes nice but mostly annoying Teddy, Jules feels overwhelmed and only wants to feel as excited about her new class as little brother Henry.

But Jules is no ordinary third grader, she's Sylvie, the little sister on the soon to be aired Look at Us Now. If only she could be more like her character on the show, outgoing, outrageous and brave.

When former best friend Charlotte turns up to school in the glasses that Jules so desperately wanted, rehearsals for her sitcom aren't going so well, a difficult decision faced for her first assignment and a new rewards system her teacher has introduced, it all becomes too much. A friend will come in new teacher Mr. Santorini, who teaches Jules the best lesson of all. Be yourself and the best person you can be.

My Thoughts

Starring Jules is a lovely middle grade series, beautifully illustrated and will appeal to junior fans of The Disney Channels Hannah Montana. Jules is in show business, having already featured in a major movie, and now is on the verge of her first screening of a regular series in which she plays Sylvie, her character the opposite of how Jules relates to her world. Away from the sitcom set, Jules could be any third grader found anywhere in the world. She worries about being liked, being a good student and shy's away from attention. She has an incredibly entertaining, but sometimes annoying little brother who has just started Kindergarten, her parents promote a healthy lifestyle when all Jules wants is chocolate and the anticipation of school is enough to keep her awake at night. It was charming, whimsical and girls will adore this series.

The illustrations are simplistic yet beautiful, and allow children to visualise the turmoil she faces at school. A lovely series especially for girls under twelve who will be able to relate to Jules as a role model and friend when they need her most.


  1. Oooh, I definitely think I would have picked this book up when I was in primary school. I love relatable books about growing up, basically things that a girl can relate to at that stage of life. The illustrations are so quirky and fun as well. YAY for MG books that impresses even adults. :D

    1. I really enjoy a middle grade to break up my usual young adult reads, they're so incredible charming and are perfect for a rainy day.

  2. Ooooh, I can't wait to see the illustrations. I love books that have art in them - I could just stare at them all day. The story is a bit simple, but I think it works for the market it's aimed at. I try to remember how I was at third grade, and all I remember is me playing outside in the mud lol. I don't think I was that self-aware like Jules.

    Faye at The Social Potato

    1. I certainly wasn't either Faye, but it's amazing how much more evolved kids are at that age these days. Jules was such a lovely little character, it's hard not to fall in love with middle grade.

  3. ERMAGERSH THIS SOUNDS ADORABLE. I want my nephew/niece to grow up faster so I can throw awesome books at their heads. Nicely of course. I don't want to brain damage them in my eagerness to get books down their throats. (I cant' wait until my nephew is into Lemony Snicket. He's only, um, 3...gah. Hurry up, child.)

    1. He'll be a teenager before you know it, they honestly do grow up so fast. My niece is into all the Wishing Chair stories at the moment and it reminds me to go back and read them all again myself. I'm going to pass this one onto her too, probably just hand it to her though, not sure how effective lobbing books at peoples heads are. Unless they have a big head, then it's game on and a better target to aim for.

  4. This series sounds so cute and totally relatable with the issues for a MG audience. I like how it sort of brings 'stars' to the ground and makes the concept more understandable for kids you know? Great review as always xo

    1. Thanks Jeann, it really was adorable. I think every child dreams of being a star at some stage, I know I did. So it's awesome to see it incorporated into a children's series, especially seeing that Jules faces the same problems that all kids her age do too. I'm sure many of them will be able to relate.


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