Saturday, October 10, 2009

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

Look, Lenore. 2008. Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things. With illustrations by LeUyen Pham. Random House. 172 pages.

The first thing you should know about me is that my name is Alvin Ho.
I am afraid of many things.
Substitute teachers.
The dark.
Scary movies.
Scary dreams.
If there were no school, my troubles would blast away, just like that. I would dig holes all day. I would play catch with my gunggung. I would watch cooking shows. I would keep an eye on things. It would be fantastic.
The second thing you should know about me is that even though I am afraid of many things, I am not afraid of anything that explodes. I love explosions.

If that doesn't make you want to read Alvin Ho, I don't know what will. How much did I love Alvin? I didn't just love him. I love, love, loved him! I think we're kindred spirits and everything. But there's one little problem. Alvin doesn't like girls. At all. And he wouldn't want a girl like me for a friend. Even if we do have oh-so-much in common. I loved everything about Alvin as I said. He is the middle child. He has an older brother, Calvin, and a little sister, Anibelly. (I also love them.) He has two great parents as well. I especially loved the Dad and his Shakespearean insults. (A trait that Alvin definitely picks up!)

What makes this book so wonderful besides the characters themselves? The narration, the style! I think Look has captured how children think and talk and act. It felt right to me. Just right. There is much to smile over in this one. It's a satisfying read with plenty of humor and heart.

I also love the illustrations by LeUyen Pham. I must admit I'm a big fan of her work. So they were just right for this one. And they added just that much more to the book. (Much like the original illustrations for Ramona made me love her all that much more!)

So I would definitely recommend this one! Alvin Ho is getting ready for second grade, so I'd imagine this would be a perfect read aloud for first graders and second graders.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

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