Kate Beasley's lively writing and Dan Santat's funny illustrations make for a chaotic tale of social anxiety, mistaken identity, juvenile delinquency, hurricane survival, and character development. Frederick is a wimpy, relatable (and relatably annoying) 10-year-old who wishes things would go his way just once -- and finds himself with an unlikely set of friends, unlikelier triumphs, and a whole new set of problems.
"He had heard the beginnings of a whine in his voice. Ten-year-olds did not whine. He took a deep breath and explained, in a calm voice, 'I've just been looking forward to this vacation for a really, really, really, really, really long time,' he said. 'It's been a bad day. A bad, bad day, and I need to go on vacation.' He folded his hands together prayerfully. 'I need a daiquiri in the worst kind of way.'
"'You and me both, kiddo,' his mom said."