From School Library Journal
Grade 4-6--Amelia describes her agonizing first days in middle school in her latest hand-written journal. Colorful sketches of lockers, teachers, students, and the mazelike building are just some of the visual details that readers will scrutinize as Amelia encounters intimidating eighth graders and faces the question of where to sit in the cafeteria. Worst of all, her English teacher, Mr. Lambaste, hates her. Big sister Cleo confesses that she had played a mean trick on Mr. Lambaste and now Amelia's attempt at being nice to him lands her in detention. As her other classes encourage her to look at art and science differently, she also learns to look at life and people differently. When she finally writes Mr. Lambaste a story about getting to know people and seeing them for who they are inside, Amelia realizes she has found a way to see through the personas of the cool kids and has taught her teacher something as well. Readers who have just started middle school will relate to and sympathize with Amelia; younger students will feel as if they are getting the inside scoop on what to expect when they get there.–Kristine M. Casper, Huntington Public Library, NY
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Gr. 4-6. Finally entering middle school, Amelia looks forward to having a locker and changing classes, but dreads attending the same school as her eighth-grade sister, Cleo. Worse, though, is her English teacher, Mr. Lambaste, who inexplicably picks on her. Nothing Amelia does helps, until she tries looking at things differently and discovers value in communication and honesty. Both insightful and entertaining, Amelia's first-person narrative rings true as she navigates unfamiliar terrain and finds unexpected rewards, such as discovering a love of science. Like other books in the ongoing series, this one features a handwritten format; colorful, cartoonlike illustrations; and charming doodles with descriptive asides to creatively portray Amelia's experiences, emotions, and often-witty musings on school life and the people around her. Amelia fans will grab this, but the book stands well alone thanks to its engaging protagonist and a sympathetic portrayal of new-school challenges that will strike a familiar chord among children. Shelle RosenfeldCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved