This might become a five-star read once I’ve slept on it.
Everyone knows an Albie — Doesn’t excel in school, is maybe a little “young” for his chronological age, doesn’t get the in-crowd jokes — but is just a nice, sweet kid who’s good to be around. Graff has created a great character. Even though the reader can see what he cannot, you can’t help but like him and be on his side.
Should every kid have to be an expert in something? Should every kid get straight As, be the star, excel? This theme has come up for me in several books over the past few years: What do we want for our kids, in the long run? We want them to be happy, decent human beings who are kind and have joy in their lives. (Finally by the end of this book, Albie’s parents might be starting to see this.)
I think this is a great book for sharing with kids you love. It can open up conversations about expectations, ‘disappointing’ one another, honesty, support, and aspirations.
“So you’re definitely not a baby then,” she said like she was thinking things through. “And you do like Captain Underpants.” She tapped her chin again. “So one can only logically conclude” – tap, tap, tap – “that Captain Underpants is not for babies.” (p. 78-79)