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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Alvin Ho by Lenore Look

Alvin HoIf you like chapter books and series, this one is for you. This book has so many similarities to Diary of a Wimpy Kid: humor, first-person narrative, sibling trouble. However, not only does Alvin have an older brother, he also has a little sister. Initially, he did not quite catch on that this mother is expecting another child. Yikes!

In a way, this series is more substantial than Diary of a Wimpy Kid. The multicultural aspect is special and the family is Chinese American. The story is set in a real city - Concord, Massachusetts. The historical elements are few, but they highlight important fun facts. How is seven-year-old Alvin suppose to cope with the burglaries in town? The story mentions that Alvin goes to therapy. This could make a great read-aloud for an older sibling reading to a younger sibling. Perhaps shared reading or family reading could be best. By reading together, an assessment can be made as to how much the reader is comprehending Alvin's misunderstood phrases:
simply pathetic pregnant
red carpet treatment
squillion
and more.
I really appreciated how Chinese words were naturally interspersed in the story.( ex. dim sum- literally "dot the heart"). A favorite of mine from the the book is Alvin's definition of the Dewey decimal system - a mysterious sequence of numbers used by aliens to organize all library books for transport into outer space. There are six books in this series. The subtitle for this fifth one is Allergic to Babies, Burglars, and Other Bumps in the Night. Older readers, don't miss out on Alvin's glossary at the back of the book. You will be amazed how many words William Shakespeare invented. Hurry, use you eyeballs and read for yourself if you are suspicious of what I say.


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