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We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Book Review

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.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

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.

Christian Beliefs

None

Other Belief Systems

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.

Authority Roles

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.

Profanity/Violence

None

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

None

Discussion Topics

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?

Additional Comments/Notes

Book club selection for the Junior Library Guild and the Arrow Book Club


Book reviews cover the content, themes and world-views 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.

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Episode Reviews

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