Book 8 of the much-loved My Life series
Derek Fallon and his friends are back for another hilarious adventure in Book 8 of the My Life series―this time featuring epic “meme” adventures!--from the publisher
256 pages 978-1250196576 Ages 9-12
Keywords: humor, friendship, dogs, wildfires, internet, social media, image, memes, reputation, 9 year old, 10 year old, 11 year old, 12 year old, part of a series, reluctant reader
Derek's mother, a veterinarian, is asked by a wealthy client to dog sit her Instagram-famous pooch, Poufy, at her opulent estate. Derek is allowed to bring several of his friends, so soon the group is lounging by the pool and helping with Poufy's arduous grooming and social media routine.
When wild fires come close to the mansion, the group wants to go home, but find that the roads leading there are closed, and they must evacuate to a local high school. It's challenging staying there with a high maintenance dog, although Poufy is very appealing to the girls.
Derek has his picture taken while reading to young children with Poufy on his lap, and he looks like he is crying because he was in the middle of a sneeze. He becomes the subject of some viral memes, which make him angry, even though he knows that people affected by the wild fires have much bigger problems. When Derek and his family return home, Poufy has to stay with them for a while, and Derek has lice! This doesn't help his social situation, especially when the boy who started the memes ends up at his school.
Strengths: Living in Ohio, I think it's very hard to understand the devastation of wild fires in California. Like Cooney's Flash Fire (1994), this gives enough detail to help students understand a topic that is in the news with alarming frequency. Derek certainly has his fingers on the pulse of all the latest trends, and Instagram has been the student platform of choice for at least six years. Very relatable characters, supportive family, and a friend in a wheelchair who helps Derek be a more empathetic person. And who doesn't love a fluffy dog?
Weaknesses: I love Tashjian's The Gospel According to Larry (2001) and Multiple Choice (1999) and wish she would write more books like that. These are popular, but not my personal favorite.
What I really think: Every middle school and elementary school library needs this entire series. If you have Wimpy Kid books, you need to have these. The small illustrations teach vocabulary words, if you need a reason to justify purchasing all of them. Trust me. You need them.
Recommended by: Karen Yingling, Library Media Specialist, Ohio USA
Read more of her recommendations: msyinglingreads.blogspot.com