Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Justin Case: School, Drool, and Other Daily Disasters

Vail, Rachel. 2010. JUSTIN CASE: SCHOOL, DROOL, AND OTHER DAILY DISASTERS. Ill. by Matthew Cordell. New York: Macmillan. ISBN 9780312532901 [Suggested Grade Levels 2-5]

Readers in the primary grades will empathize with this delightful character and his day-to-day struggles while in the third grade. The format is unique and easy to read, told in a daily diary format beginning shortly before school starts and ending the day after school lets out. Each day builds on life seen through the eyes of the main character, Justin Krzeszewski. He is a warm and lovable character with real flaws, worries, and concerns. Both boys and girls alike will enjoy this glimpse into his world.

Matthew Cordell’s illustrations are drawn in black and white and scattered throughout the book. Each one has details that are fun to scrutinize and place within the storyline. They greatly complement what is happening, matching the tone and giving appeal to the story.

Readers will love discussing Justin’s fears, analyzing whether they are justified or not. This can lead to a discussion of bad days and embarrassing moments at school versus good happenings. A fun activity would be for readers to create their own journals of “school, drool, and other daily disasters.”

Other books written from the viewpoint of elementary age characters, with all the humor and worries involved:
Kinney, Jeff. 2007. DIARY OF A WIMPY KID. (Series) ISBN 9780810993136
Kline, Suzy. 2010. HORRIBLE HARRY MOVES UP TO THIRD GRADE. ISBN 9780140389722
Musgrove, Marianne. 2009. THE WORRY TREE. ISBN 9780805087918
Peirce, Lincoln. 2010. BIG NATE: IN A CLASS BY HIMSELF. (Series) ISBN 9780061944345

By Kaye E. Bray

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