Book review: Justin Case

Looking for a good book for an 8-year-old boy (or thereabouts)?

This is another recommendation I picked up from the gal at the writing workshop. I was a little skeptical about the concept. It’s about a 3rd-grade boy who’s kind of a worrywart. He’s clearly a nerdy sort–good at math, bad at soccer–and he’s afraid of a lot of things, like dogs and his grandma’s cat.

I’m at a bit of a disadvantage in picking books for my boys because there are two degrees of foreignness between me and them. Adult vs. child and girl vs. boy. I sort of get adult men, because I understand adult issues in general, and I sort of get girl children, because I was once a girl child myself. But I have never been a boy child.

I was under the impression that boys wanted to read about boys who were brave and daring, not boys who were scared of things like dogs (which my own boys are not scared of).

Apparently I am wrong! My boys really liked this book. Unfortunately I could not get my 8-year-old to articulate why. When I ask him why he likes a book, he devolves into caveman grunting mode. But the book is funny–he laughed out loud many times while reading it. And I’ve heard it described as “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” for the younger set.

I really enjoyed it myself. I haven’t read the whole book yet (I’m reading it to my 8-year-old, although he already read most of it himself), but the situations are quite funny to me as a parent. For example, the kid is terrible at soccer, but in one game he kicks a soccer goal quite by accident and his dad becomes convinced he’s now good at soccer and starts dragging him out for all these extra practices until it becomes obvious he still sucks. And he has this teacher who hands out “Superstar” stickers for completely random reasons, and Justin really wants the stickers but can’t figure out what behavior will earn him a sticker. I know so many teachers like that! It’s quite funny and very genuine. So I recommend this one.

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