Review of Justin Case: School, Drool, and other Daily Disasters

September 14, Tuesday

Do you have a child who worries? I do. He’s been worrying since he was two. I worry that his worrying will keep him from having fun, playing with other kids, and trying out for the swim team.

I think it’s contagious.

I talked before about Rachel Vail’s adorable book Justin Case: School, Drool and other Daily Disasters, when I met this inspiring author/speaker at the SCBWI conference. I wish I had this book when my now-nearly-twelve worrier was entering third grade, as Justin does. Through a series of hilarious journal entries, we live the life of an eight year old worrier as he fends off rebellious stuffed animals, schemes to get a dog (even though he’s terrified of them), and finds a way to survive the year without his best friend in his class. Along the way, he discovers that bravery means not letting your fears get in the way.

RL: 5.2 CSM: n/a Rating: G Content: gentle, fun book about life in third grade

I love the way this book allows kids to get inside the head of epic-worrier, Justin Case:

September 8, Tuesday

Tomorrow is the first day of third grade.

Mom said to focus on the bright side.

Well, Xavier Schwartz is not in my class this year. That's bright.

No. It's not helping. I'm still focusing on the dark side.

As well as bringing out the real-life triumphs of life as a third grader:

November 7, Saturday

I scored!

Holy cannoli, I scored the winning goal in soccer today!

Dad picked me up and spun me around and around.

He thinks the extra practice somehow made the difference. I will never tell him that I was actually trying to pass the ball to Sam and just aimed it badly so it arced into the goal accidentally.

It is a secret I will keep as long as I live.

Dark Omen (nearly twelve) gamely read this book, but it really was a bit young for him. The reading level is an impressive 5.2 (for a book about third graders), so I think it is a great find for young advanced readers. With its light-hearted innocence and story of triumph over fears large and small, I heartily recommend Justin Case for worriers (and their parents) ages 8+, or even younger – because worrying has no age limit.

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