rating: 4 of 5 stars
Laugh out loud funny, and yet there is an undertone of sadness. My 6th graders love this book which I'm reading to them now as a read-aloud. Joey had ADHD and is constantly getting into trouble in school. Quite accidentally he injures another student and is sent to a special school "to learn how to behave." The sadness for me, comes from the fact that so many of our kids today face the realities that Joey faces -- a single parent, dysfunctional family life, alcoholic parents. Yet Jack Gantos handles these realities with a light touch, and kids can identify with Joey who sometimes feels like a warm Coke bottle that has been shaken up and might burst. (a paraphrase, since my copy of the book is at school.) It elicits some good discussion about special ed programs too.
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