A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that despite the cover art, this book is aimed at older kids. It includes middle school crushes, rebellion against authority, and delinquents.
What's the story?
Molly, who lives with her eccentric grandmother, Irene, keeps her whole life organized in a binder. So when that binder disappears she is thrown for a loop, especially since today is Senior Citizen's Day at her Catholic school, and Irene is the only grandparent to accept the invitation. Tripping and giving herself a black eye gets the day off to the kind of start Molly expected without her binder, but it's going to get worse. Much worse.
Is it any good?
Unbelievably prolific, Newbery-honored author Gary Paulsen can toss off a slight little thing like this with one hand tied behind his back, and probably did. It's mildly amusing, not very believable, and drills home his debatable, rather stereotypical Message -- that being organized and enjoying life are incompatible. This has been done many times before, and better.
The book's size and cover art make it look like a transitional story for second- or third-graders, but its tale of middle school crushes, delinquents, rebellion against authority, poetry slams, and The Message is aimed at older kids. Perhaps it would work for the high-interest, low-vocabulary crowd, but it doesn't seem powerful enough to grab the interest of a reluctant reader. Gary Paulsen is one of our greatest authors, but this is not one of his greatest books.