My Weird School Series

Book review by
Carrie Kingsley, Common Sense Media
My Weird School Series Book Poster Image
Playful books have jokes, lessons, some stereotypes.

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 14 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 6 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Occasionally, an advanced vocabulary word (such as "photogenic") or idea (such as a brief mention of the laws of physics) is introduced.

Positive Messages

The series is funny and portrays school-related adults in a universally positive light. But it repeatedly tags a sensitive kid as a "crybaby" and calls a girl who's accepted into the school's gifted program a "dweeb" and a "know-it-all." A.J.'s hatred of school and learning is seen as cool, and his inner monologue is punky and dismissive and can be bullying. He rarely says anything out loud to the girl who cries easily, but readers of this series will see exactly what he thinks of her, and it isn't positive. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The teachers, principal, and staff are supportive, kind, and funny, joking with the students and trying to get the kids to understand the importance of trying their best. The parents are almost nonexistent since the series is set at school, but mentions of parents are generally positive. The students, however, are always picking on each other, and their behavior is the opposite of what teachers everywhere try to have in their classrooms.

Violence & Scariness

Mild but consistent teasing among students at school, with some tense moments when the students get in trouble. Confrontational teasing between kids is portrayed as normal.


The name-calling is almost nonstop. "Nerd," "crybaby," and "dumbhead" are only a few of the insults flung around the second grade; A.J. and his friends insult the girls for being smart, and Andrea (his nemesis) insults the boys for being dumb. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dan Gutman's popular My Weird School series is full of light, funny jokes about classmates, teachers, and the principal. Readers can see how the adults in the series behave in sneaky ways to trick the kids into doing more schoolwork, which is fun to watch unfold. That said, there's a consistent message that boys and "boy stuff" like sports are cool and that girls and "nerdy stuff" like being good at school are not. In several of the books, A.J. learns that school is important and can be fun, but the series reinforces some unfortunate gender stereotypes. When the teacher asks if the students are ready to learn, all the girls yell "yes" and the boys yell "no." The boys are all about physical and competitive games, and the girls run screaming after a teen pop star. The writing is funny, but the messages can be troubling. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byliztucker4077 October 24, 2019

Not the lessons I want my child to learn

My daughter was given this book for school as a guided reading book. She sat next to me as she read about 1/4 of it. After the questions and statements she wa... Continue reading
Adult Written byCaptainAwesome'sMom March 24, 2019

Just not appropriate

I am all for helping reluctant readers but don't care for these books. Of course children will find them funny but they simply aren't appropriate, es... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old October 20, 2018

Basically....School's worst nightmare

Keep in mind, I put Swearing for a Reason. Because they a lot call out the word "Stupid" a lot. I found the Book series Enjoyful! The Storys are Funn... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old February 28, 2021

I don't understand the hatred for the series

I understand a FEW flaws of the book series, but....why? I personally don't understand most of the other flaws since most of them are probably intentional... Continue reading

What's the story?

In the MY WEIRD SCHOOL series, second-grader Arlo Jervis (aka A.J.) hates school, and he does everything he can to cause the maximum disruption while doing the minimum amount of work. Sometimes, though, he's tricked into working hard, like when his new teacher, Miss Daisy, says she doesn't know how to do math and her entire class has to teach her addition. Or when the principal, Mr. Klutz, says he'd give the school a chocolate party and kiss a pig if they wrote 100,000 spelling words. With his friends Ryan and Michael, A.J. squares off against the girls, Andrea and Emily, in a constant boys-vs.-girls battle that stereotypes learning and school as nerdy and female and sports and rambunctious behavior as innately male.

Is it any good?

This beginning chapter book series is for any kid who doesn't like school, enjoys watching kids get away with pranks, or wants to see school as a sillier place than it is. Kids love reading the My Weird School series. The language is age-appropriate, the adult characters are as loopy as they come, and the friendships between the kids are real. But any reader who's felt the sting of schoolyard teasing, or who's sensitive to seeing kids pick on each other, or who doesn't like the "boys vs. girls" theme might have a hard time with the content. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the name-calling in the My Weird School series. Does it seem over the top to you, or do kids at your school insult one another this much? 

  • What other books about school friends have you read? Is a school friend different from a neighbor friend?

  • Can jokes turn into bullying if taken too far? What can you do if someone bullies you or if you see someone else being bullied?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love humor and school stories

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate