I laughed out loud so much that I got teary-eyed reading this book. Dave Davidson and his friends miss their sweet teacher, Ms. Samson, from fifth grade. This year they have Mr. Papadakis, who is also in a punk rock band and spends most of his time on his cell phone. Throughout the year Dave helps each of his friends to overcome their fears. Eric is afraid to dance in front of everyone at the Back-to-School Dance. Andrew is so afraid of public speaking that he throws up and their class is assigned to do a speech in October. Vanessa is afraid of dogs, so her boyfriend Robbie makes Dave help her overcome the fear so she will be able to visit his house. And in December, while they are working on the science fair, he finds out that Claire is scared of the future and tackles that with her. The therapy methods Dave uses, and the results of his assistance are hilarious. For instance, part of helping Vanessa involves letting his Burmese mountain dog lick her face - which sends her shrieking out of the house. When he's not practicing psychology without a license, Dave is busy with the Nationals, a band he and his friends form. They only sing variations of the Canadian National Anthem. His friend Eric videos everything and posts it to YouTube.
There are so many true middle school moments in the story - the dance, the science fair, snow days, public speaking, avoiding homework...even annoying big brothers. Middle grade readers will recognize their own school-related fears and see the faces of classmates when they try to visualize the characters. Older readers will look back at their own middle school experience and wish it had been as entertaining as this book. Folks who enjoy the Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Origami Yoda, or the Hank Zipzer books will love 28 Tricks for a Fearless Grade 6.
192 pages 978-1459406186 Ages 9-13
Recommended by: Suzanne Costner, Library Media Specialist, Tennessee USA
See more of her recommendations: http://fveslibrary.blogspot.com
Read alikes: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Strange Case of Origami Yoda, Hank Zipzer series, Dork Diaries