From the Publisher
Starred Review, The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, January 1, 2012:
“Alvin proves the ideal companion to walk a child through the valley of the shadow… Alvin just keeps getting better and better.”
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2011:
"A fresh entry in what is overall an exceedingly enjoyable series; readers will cheer this latest."
Children's Literature - Justina Engebretson
Life can be a scary thing for many, and death an even scarier thing, especially for Alvin Ho. Alvin's life is full of many dangers which seem to be lurking at every turn, whether it is that second grade history test or certain death by an older, much stronger brother. School is the scariest place of all for Alvin, the place where his voice never fails to abandon him. Because disaster is always following Alvin around, he makes sure to carry his Personal Disaster Kit (PDK) with him at all times, just in case. Unfortunately for Alvin, his PDK is not able to save him from going to his first funeral, complete with a real dead body. As he awaits the day of the funeral, disaster after disaster seems to come his way and Alvin is convinced his own doom is inevitable, but maybe things will not be as bad as they seem. Humor is ever present in this chapter book that will more than likely capture the interest of many eight-year-old boys. Death, the fear of death, and the sorrow of death are all sensitive topics that are briefly addressed, but the humor helps lighten the more somber mood that accompanies such discussions. The cartoon-like sketches scattered throughout the book paint a picture of Alvin's view of the world with all its disasters. Overall, this new addition to the "Alvin Ho" series is an enjoyable read. Reviewer: Justina Engebretson
Nervoussecond-grader Alvin Ho digs deep to find the bravery to attend a funeral in this playful andpoignantfourth offering in the series.
When Charlie, the best friend ofhisgrandfather, dies, Alvin is desperate to console his gung-gung, volunteering togo to accompany him to the last rites withoutrealizing he'll be in close proximity to a dead body. Once this occurs to him, however, he is terrified—his fear only compounded by his brother's concern that Charlie's death is a bad sign for their similarly aged grandfather. The formula that has worked so well in theearlier installments succeeds here again.Alvin's frenetic first-personvoiceas he puzzlesit all out is engaging and real, often laugh-out-loud funny, and his family lifeis touching—sweet and frazzled and filled with endearing details like his father's use of Shakespearean curses when he's frustrated. Historical details of the Concord, Mass., setting abound, often comically portrayed due to Alvin's tendency toward literalism.His eventual ability to contextualize and accept the death of someone he knew evolves naturally, and the madcap scenario that precedes it, exacerbated by Alvin's anxiety-related inability to talk in school, is at once hilarious and heart-rending.
Afresh entry inwhat is overall anexceedingly enjoyable series; readers will cheer this latest. (Fiction. 7-10)