Mattie Breen’s used to moving and leaving things behind. Her mom doesn’t like owning more than can fit comfortably inside a pickup truck. At least this time the two of them are moving to a place where there’s someone she likes-her Uncle Potluck.
Uncle Potluck is the custodian at the school where Mattie will soon be starting fifth grade. She’s hoping he’ll help her out with her plan. Mattie wants to be a custodial apprentice. Then she won’t have to deal with lunch or recess. She won’t have to deal with the other kids and not fitting in.
When her mom gives her a new notebook, Mattie uses it to take notes on how custodians do their job. She wants to get it all done to show that she can help Uncle Potluck. She’s not going to use it write stories–not after fourth grade, though Mattie’s not about to tell her mom that she no longer writes them.
Mattie’s not just worried about the start of school. She’s also worried about Quincy. Quincy is the niece of the lady next door. Mattie’s mom is convinced Quiny would be a great friend for Mattie, but Mattie’s positive the other girl is far too cool for her.
Linda Urban masterfully spins the story of a painfully shy girl, a girl who keeps her words close. It’s a quiet story of learning how to unfold again and take a chance. Uncle Potluck is hilarious and I could identify so much with Mattie. I look forward to sharing this book with my fourth grade students.
I won’t spoil it, but I loved Mattie’s final words in this book.
P.S. As a shy librarian who likes to write, I found Mattie a very rewarding character to read about.