Monday, December 22, 2014

PACK OF DORKS- Beth Vrabel

When PACK OF DORKS opens, Lucy and her best friend, Becky, are at the top of the social heap in fourth grade, kissing their "boyfriends, " Tom and Henry, behind a shed on the playground. Then Lucy misses a day of school because her mom has a baby and returns to find out, that somehow, overnight, she has sunk all the way to the bottom of the social heap and become an outcast.

Lucy's life is turned upside down.  Molly, Lucy's baby sister, has Down's syndrome, and her parents are coping with the realities of that very unexpected occurrence.  No longer welcome with the "popular crowd" in fourth grade, Lucy finds herself eating in a corner of the cafeteria, and playing alongside other "outcasts" on the playground. She comes to know Sam, an award-winning gymnast who has been ostracized since very early in his school career, April, who suffers from bad allergies and has, um, "nose/mucus" issues, and Amanda, who is viewed as the class bully.

Sam and Lucy are assigned as partners in a class project on wolves. Through the wolves' social structures, and through an unconventional but wise grandmother, Lucy learns some big truths about herself,  the social structure in fourth grade, and "reinvents" herself as a member in a much kinder, more compassionate pack.

PACK OF DORKS would make a good companion to COURAGE FOR BEGINNERS, the book I reviewed yesterday.

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