Monday, December 28, 2009
Nothing's Fair in Fifth Grade by Barthe DeClements
Published originally in 1981
Paperback, 138 pages
This is the third book I read for the Shelf Discovery Challenge hosted by Booking Mamma. Although written almost 30 years ago, this book still depicts some common issues among 10 year-olds in fifth grade, namely friendships, bullying, and school grades. I read it to my 8 year-old daughter currently in third grade and she enjoyed it. She actually wished the story didn’t end but continued for longer.
Jenny, the main character is likeable and realistic. When Elsie, an obese girl, becomes the new kid in their class things start happening that challenge Jenny’s view of things. Unlike Judy Blume’s Blubber which I read as a kid and which was horrid, this story ends on a positive note, and it evolves so that Jenny and her friends develop a friendship with Elsie. There were times when I felt the words used to describe Elsie’s condition were crude and overdone. Perhaps this was done intentionally by the author as it was written in the first person from the point of view of a 10 year-old kid who is at the age where self-image is a big deal. It also helps the reader to see the change in Jenny as she begins to see how unfair things are for Elsie as well.
My daughter could relate to most of the issues Jenny confronted, and it enabled us to talk about some of them. There is a satisfying resolution by the end of the book which was important to me as a parent. I would easily recommend this fun and clean read to any middle-grader or mother-daughter book club.
Disclosure: I bought this book at a used book sale. It was not sent to me for review.