This week in addition to reading books for the Newbery Book Club I am re-reading an older favorite for the Quest for the Crown competition we have.
Albie struggles in school. He feels alone and like a failure. So easy to identify with.
I about lost my mind when Albie’s mom told him he was too old for Captain Underpants, that they were for babies. LET YOUR KIDS READ WHAT THEY LOVE!!! Their reading levels will increase if they are reading, even if it isn’t Johnny Tremain. I PROMISE!
Overall: 5/5-- As the mom of a kiddo for whom learning is very difficult, I loved this book. I loved how he figured things out like the 100 cups making 4 stacks of 25. It was so real. He does the same thing over and over and he just learns naturally. I also loved how he decided that he wasn’t going to get upset over a bully calling him names. It gives him so much power.
One drawback is that is babysitter encourages him to dishonest several times. While I disagree with the way his parents were doing things, I absolutely disagree with a babysitter encouraging a child to lie to his teacher and parents.
Creativity: 3/5-- It’s hard to be too “outside the box” when writing a book like this. Realistic fiction about a kid who struggles.
Characters: 5/5-- Loved Albie. Loved Calista. Loved the transparency of Albie’s parents and the mistakes that they make.
Appeal to kids: 5/5-- I think kids are really going to identify with Albie. Everyone feels bullied or like they are dumb at some point.
Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5
Drugs/Alcohol: mild-- Albie’s grandfather (who is not very nice) drinks a red/brown drink when he comes to visit.
Other: This is sometimes a concern at our school but one of Albie’s friends has “dads.” Nothing more is mentioned about it.
I loved this book the first time around and as always with Rebecca Stead’s books it has a crazy twist ending. I have wanted to read it again now that I know the ending and it being a Bluebonnet/Crown book this year has given me the excuse!
AR level: 3.8
Grade appropriate: 4th and up
Creativity: 5/5-- Rebecca Stead is a master of the hidden plot. She totally had me fooled the first time I read this book.
Characters: 5/5-- I love Georges’s big picture outlook and the way he stands up to the bullies.
Writing: 5/5-- How can she give hints to the hidden plot all along but not give it away?
Appeal to kids: 5/5
Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5-- very quick read
Language: none, mild, medium, high--the bullies at school use a couple of bad words. “damn” and they call one girl "Terry Con-chest-y"
Drugs/Alcohol: mild-- mom drinks a glass of wine