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BOOK REVIEWS, Middle Grade Readers, Read-Aloud Suggestions


I get more feedback from students on this book than probably any other that I have read aloud in classrooms. Most often I hear from students that they “would never have read this book” on their own. The title always provokes huge reactions from my listeners–from groaning to cheering.

The book opens with Devin, a third grade boy, waiting at the airport to meet his “exchange buddy.”  His “buddy” arrives by falling down the baggage chute.  Devin is appalled to see that Stan is dressed like a dweeb, sounds like a dweeb, and is ridiculously weird.

Devin soon suspects that Stan is not who he claims to be.  Devin is right–but in a way for which he is completely unprepared.  Devin and Stan discover what friendship really is and learn about the nature of accepting individuals as they are.  This discovery happens as they progress through a series of alternately hilarious and exciting adventures!

Gordon Korman is a master at genuine dialogue for his characters, physical comedy and humorous word play.  This book is no exception.  Many grade school readers are familiar with Mr. Korman’s work:  Swindle, Zoobreak, Framed series as well as several adventure series. The Nose Picker books (and there are several in the series) are often overlooked.

Gordon Korman has an extensive body of work for both middle grade and young adult readers. Two of my favorites in his young adult works are No More Dead Dogs and Schooled.  The first has four alternating narrators and a wonderfully sarcastic edge to its humor–which always appeals to me.  The second is a young man who has been home-schooled by his grandmother who in what is typically thought of as a “1960’s/hippie-ish mentality.” His grandmother is injured and is temporarily unable to care for him so he must attend the local public high school–a huge culture shock for both him and the students who interact with him.


Have you read any of Grodon Korman’s books?  Which one is your favorite and why?


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