From the Publisher
"Adler shapes a cast that youngsters will want to follow." --Publishers Weekly
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Seven of Andy's gerbils have escaped from their cage at home (and his mother hates animals). At school, preoccupied with thoughts of his pets on the loose, the boy offers "China" as the solution to a math problem. And just when he's about to ask his parents if his friend Tamika (whose foster parents are moving away for a year) can come live with the Russell family, he learns that his mother is pregnant. Such are the woes of Andy Russell, whom Adler (author of the Cam Jansen books) introduces in this jaunty novel, the first of a series. Displaying a knack for creating credible characters and amusing dialogue, Adler shapes a cast that youngsters will want to follow up on in future tales. Among them are Tamika, whose birth parents are recovering from a serious car accident; and earnest Bruce, Andy's best friend. Other personalities with potential are Rachel, Andy's snippy older sister, who condescendingly refers to his pets as "mice"; and Stacy Ann, the class brown-noser who corrects Andy's wrong answers "in her best I-know-and-you-don't tone." Though the hero manages to solve his problems this time, it won't be long before he next hits hot water. Readers will likely be standing by when he does. Ages 7-10. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Dr. Judy Rowen
Andy Russell has problems. As is usually the case in this type of novel, many of these problems are self-inflicted, and worsened by his reluctance to tell his parents the truth. First, his gerbils get loose. He daydreams at school. He wants his friend Tamika to move in with the family. These stories are usually a mad dash from situation to situation, with a neat resolution once the protagonist 'fesses up at the end. This novel, however, plods from situation to situation. I didn't become engaged with Andy's struggles. I couldn't understand why he wanted Tamika to move in-most fourth grade boys will have nothing to do with girls, nonetheless ask them to join their family. Their friendship was not well developed, and it seemed gratuitous that Tamika is black, with seriously injured parents. This is the first in a promised series, so perhaps Andy will hit his stride in future tales.
School Library Journal
Fourth grader Andy Russell always seems to get into trouble: he doesn't pay attention in class, his gerbils escape, and he irritates his older sister. On top of all that, his mother is pregnant and he wants his friend Timeka to come live with his family because her foster parents are moving to South America. Youngsters will enjoy David A. Adler's fast-paced, humorous story (Gulliver Books, 1998), the first in a series about Andy, ably narrated by Oliver Wyman.-Ann Elders, Mark Twain Elementary School, Federal Way, WA