Fourth Grade Weirdo

Overview

Dexter is like a square peg in a round hole: he just can’t fit in. All the kids in his class enjoy the zany things their teacher Mr. Ditzwinkle does to make learning fun. All except Dexter, the weirdo who prefers the same routine. But when things start disappearing from school, Dexter is surprised that his teacher is suspected. Dexter thinks Mr. Ditzwinkle is odd, but he knows he’s not a crook.

Can Dexter the weirdo prove it by catching the ...

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Overview

Dexter is like a square peg in a round hole: he just can’t fit in. All the kids in his class enjoy the zany things their teacher Mr. Ditzwinkle does to make learning fun. All except Dexter, the weirdo who prefers the same routine. But when things start disappearing from school, Dexter is surprised that his teacher is suspected. Dexter thinks Mr. Ditzwinkle is odd, but he knows he’s not a crook.

Can Dexter the weirdo prove it by catching the real thief?

Dexter's well-ordered life is disrupted by his uneasy interactions with his spontaneous, even zany, fourth-grade teacher Mr. Ditzwinkle and by his mother's campaign for reelection to the town's school board.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The large type, short chapters and first person narrative make this a fast read. The quirky characters who work to right the problems of friends and family will appeal to young readers."—School Library Journal

"An entertaining and funny journey of self-discovery. . . . Readers will cheer as Dexter transforms himself into a colorful character with plenty of new friends along the way."—Kirkus Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This somewhat canned classroom comedy mines the timeworn topic of self-acceptance. More sympathetic than the protagonist of Freeman's recent The Polyester Grandpa, fourth-grader Dexter Plum fears he's an oddball because he carries a "dweebacious" briefcase, eats only black jelly beans and creates a square self-portrait that inspires his classmates to dub him "blockhead." He intends to eat his favorite after-school snack every day through college, law school and beyond: "I like to plan things like that out. Life is crazy enough. Who wants surprises?" Unfortunately, the fresher moments go unexplored and even seem out of place, such as Dexter's anger at his mom's negligence due to her school board campaign, and his ultra-disciplined father's admission that he was once so physically weak that his peers considered him weird, too. Instead, the action centers on Dexter's ambivalence toward his spontaneous, disorganized teacher, Mr. Ditzwinkle whose refrain is "Let's get down with some education", as well as the mildly suspenseful mystery of disappearing Parents Club dues and sweets from school classrooms and offices. A subplot concerning the rivalry between Dexter and classmate Eric--"problem child of the universe"--whose moms are competing for the school board position, provides some tension, but most of the entertainment stems from Dexter's ability to laugh at himself. Ages 8-12. Dec. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-Dexter thinks he's the weirdest kid in Mr. Ditzwinkle's fourth-grade class. He'd rather complete math worksheets than draw a self-portrait, and he's sure that Mr. Ditz doesn't like him. To complicate matters, Dexter's mother is running for reelection to the school board against Eric Gale's pushy mother, who wages war against absentminded Mr. Ditz after he misplaces the Parents' Club money and school candy is missing. When his students stage a televised rally in his support, Eric shows up with a campaign sign for his mother, and a mud fight ensues. The coverage makes national news and the class is barred from the upcoming Halloween Carnival. However, Dexter and two friends disguise themselves, go to the carnival, and, with their teacher's unwitting help, catch the thief. The hero learns that, "Even if everybody thinks you're weird, you've gotta pay attention to the handsome guy inside." The large type, short chapters, and first-person narrative make this a fast read. The quirky characters who work to right the problems of friends and family will appeal to young readers.-Christina Dorr, Hilliard City Schools, OH Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440416890
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 8/28/2001
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 645,699
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 7.65 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Martha Freeman has also written Stinkbomb Mom and The Year My Parents Ruined My Life.
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