Sunday, November 6, 2011


Mattie Breen is about to start fifth grade. In a new school. Mattie's mom lives by a motto, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." And so Mattie and her mom have moved from place to place to place. This time, they have ended up living with Mattie's Uncle Potluck, who is the custodian at the elementary school.

Mattie is painfully, painfully shy. And terrified of starting at a new school. She has decided that she will deal with lunch and recess, problematic times during the day, by becoming a custodial apprentice to her uncle. In the weeks before school starts, she follows him around the elementary school, jotting down all of his "custodial wisdom" in a notebook. Mattie believes that becoming an indispensable custodial assistant will save her from having to interact with kids in her new school.

Mattie takes notes because Mattie is a writer, not only of custodial notes, but also of stories. Or at least she was a writer of stories until a bully in a previous elementary school, destroyed her notebook. Her plan seems perfect, until Uncle Potluck gets hurt on the job…

I loved this book. Linda Urban did an amazing job of capturing the inner workings of a really, really shy child. How the meanness of one bully destroyed her. How afraid she was to even try to make friends. I loved the wisdom of Uncle Potluck. Loved how Mattie finally gathered up the bravery to make a friend.

A terrific read. One upper intermediate teachers have to have for all of the Mattie's in their classes.

1 comment:

Mary Lee said...

High up on my to-read list'