Monday, April 01, 2013

Children's Book Review: Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things (Ages 7-10)

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things
Lenore Look

Second-grader, Alvin Ho, is afraid of everything. Not just the normal kid stuff that you would expect. He’s afraid of elevators, heights, the dark, scary movies, girls (of course), and school most of all. Poor Alvin is so scared of school that when he’s there, he becomes mute. He has his own special ways of coping with his fear; most notable is his PDK, or Personal Disaster Kit. He packs it full of plans and supplies should the worst finally come to pass. His tablemate, a girl named Flea, does all of his speaking for him by reading his eyes, but that still doesn’t make Alvin’s life any easier. Readers get a glimpse into the world of bright, shy, and inventive Alvin as he learns to cope with the stress school, family, friends, and growing up.

In the world of beginning chapter books, outspoken and mischievous girls like Junie B., Judy Moody, and Ivy and Bean rule the roost; it is great to see a compelling series with an introspective Asian-American boy like Alvin. A lot of kids are shy; this book shows kids that it’s alright to be scared and uncertain sometimes (or in Alvin’s case, all the time). The illustrations throughout the book are lighthearted and add a lot of humor and depth to the characters. It’s stuffed full of funny and touching scenes that make it great for kids just graduating to chapter books or a great read-aloud for parents and teachers.

Submitted by Mollie Harrison
Springville Road Library

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