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Richard is a mature fourth grader with a sense of humor. For a class project on nutrition, he is paired with Kevin, whose behavior is obnoxious. In a refreshing twist on the bullying theme, Richard interferes when Kevin picks on Sam, a second grader. He tries to protect the younger boy by tricking Kevin, which doesn't work, but does provide a funny episode. With a little guidance from his teacher, he realizes that Sam's lack of self-confidence fits hand-in-glove with Kevin's meanness. When that is addressed, everyone grows, even readers. The convincing dialogue is crammed with interesting facts about nutrition, insects, and the classroom tarantula. The characters and the plot develop at a quick and mostly believable pace. Black-and-white wash illustrations match the action and give the book appeal for reluctant readers.
—June WolfeCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.