Justin Case by Rachel Vail: Book Ramblings

Justin Case: School, Drool, and Other Daily DisastersJustin Case: School, Drool, and Other Daily Disasters by Rachel Vail
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Worry could be Justin Krzeszewski’s first name, skipping right past the middle name stage. He worries about the start of school, which is pretty common. He worries about if he will have to sit behind his second best friend and then will not be able to see because his friend’s hair is too big. He’s also afraid his teacher will be a yeller and that she’ll think boys shouldn’t be friends with girls. Even with all his worries, he never imagines the thing that does end up happening the first day of school–his name was on the wrong class list. Instead of being in Ms. Burns’ class with his two best friends, he is in strict Ms. Termini’s class.

Told in diary entries spanning the length of third grade, Justin Case: School, Drool and Other Daily Disasters is a great school story filled with Justin’s fears, humor and his day-to-day adventures. The title comes from what a boy teases Justin with, that he’s always Just in Case. Justin’s roped into the class election for student council by one of his class enemies. His dad tries to wake some sort of sports talent in Justin by having him participate in a succession of teams and games Justin is less than interested in. He loses his best friend to other girls in the class. On top of all that, he has to oversee nightly battles between his stufties. When his parents give in and get a dog at last, Justin finds there is yet another thing that makes him nervous. His dog knocks him over, drools on him, and drags him around.

This book made me smile while wincing over what all happens to Justin. I think this book would resonate well with older siblings. It could also make a great read aloud for a third grade class.

A fun book pair for this book might be Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and other Scary Things. Justin and Alvin share anxiety over many different things while also providing a humorous insight to life. The format may appeal to fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

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