Justin Case :
School, Drool, and Other Daily Disasters
by Rachel Vail
Third grade is starting and Justin is very nervous about it.
Of course, Justin is nervous about pretty much everything: dogs, the boiler, the Way-Back of the basement, nighttime attackers, teachers, classmates, the principal's office, saying something stupid, reading out loud, times tables...
It doesn't help that Justin's first day of school is ruined when he's pulled from the class with the nice teacher and all of his friends and put into a completely different class with the scary kids. It doesn't help that he's got an almost unpronounceable last name, which the other kids change to "Case" as in "Just-in-Case". It doesn't help that his many stuffed animals are staging a revolution on his bed. It doesn't help that his sister, who is going into kindergarten, is much braver than he. It doesn't help that his dad keeps signing him up for sports when he's not athletic and his mom signs him up for violin, which he can't play. And it doesn't help that his favorite stuffed animal has gone missing.
All these things and many more stress him out to exhaustion. And now his only real goal is to survive third grade.
But is it possible when everything is so very scary?
Final thoughts: I love the format of the daily journal and the author has some clever things going. (i.e. Justin's supposed to say "No, thank you" instead of "hate" whenever he's offered something he doesn't want, so for the remainder of the book he "No, thank you's" everything like math, gym, climbing ropes, etc...). Now, I'm interested to see how Justin gets through fourth grade.