This drama by Claudia Mills is published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux and is written for kids ages 8 to 12. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
Self-proclaimed losers Ethan and Julius never try very hard at anything. Why should they, when the world is obviously against them? Then the beautiful Ms. Grace Gunderson becomes their student teacher. At first, Ethan improves his work ethic and behavior simply to impress Grace — but he soon realizes that his new activities leave him too busy to keep track of how unfair life is. As Ethan starts enjoying his nonloser status, his friendship with Julius gets rocky.
Ethan offers two quick prayers to God. In the first, he asks that his brother make an important free throw. In the second, he requests that he not have to sit next to the girl who has a crush on him.
Ethan's loving, supportive parents provide a solid foundation for his healthy family. Teachers are portrayed as wise and competent. The kids listen to them and treat them with respect.
Other Belief Systems
Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Books of the Year
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- What qualities make someone a hero or a loser?
- What can happen when you tease or bully others?
- Are you unhappy with some part of your life, and if so, what can you do to improve the situation?
Note: Book club selection for the Junior Library Guild and the Arrow Book Club
Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.