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“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”
Publisher: HarperTrophy, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers,
Summary: Finally, summer is is about to start. Arlo (aka A.J.) tells us the story of his year in second grade. A.J. and his friends share some memorable moments from the year as everyone prepares for graduation. Thanks to Ryan's mom (the PTA president) this year's graduation was going to be spectacular. There is an eternal flame, doves that the kids will let loose, and President Clinton as the keynote speaker. She wanted everything to be perfect but even Ryan (A.J.'s best friend) thinks she's gone overboard. This is a transitional chapter book series that will appeal to boys, reluctant, and remedial readers.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, anytime reading, family reading, transitional reader, read aloud book, remedial reader, reluctant reader
Recommended Age: read together: 7 to 10; read yourself: 9 to 12
Interest Level: 8 to 10
Reading Level: 4
Age of Child: Read with and by a 7-year-old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: When we finished reading this book (the first of the My Weird School Daze series), our daughter asked if we could start the next one. She finds the characters funny and loves the humor. There were several nights where she'd ask to stay up later to read an extra chapter on her own.
Adult Reader Reaction: The characters are typical second (soon to be third) graders. The main character A.J. is a little to smart alecky for my taste, but I can see why my daughter loves the book. There is also a lot of wordplay that may be too subtle for some young readers. For example, my daughter doesn't get the pun for the "No Bell Prize." [And it isn't easy to explain, either!]
Pros: The characters, events, and silliness reflect the humor and classmates every kid knows. They'll be laughing and repeating lines for weeks.
Cons: Although not as rampant as some books, there is still potty humor and silliness (e.g., vomitorium for cafeteria).
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, unless you're planning to buy the series. The kids will read them and trade them around for a while, but then they will move on to fourth grade and these won't have enough "cool" humor.
Educational Themes: This is a book for engaging young readers. The author fills the book with wordplay and points out how cliches don't make sense when you think about them. Looking
Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.
Literary Categories: fiction - humor, middle grade series, school
Date(s) Reviewed: April 2009, October 2014
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