This is a battle of the sexes, fourth grade style!
It has been a while since I read something very juvenile. And this book has been a refreshing break for me.
Santat’s illustrating style recalls that of something I saw in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. The pencil drawings have the Baudelaire children’s images I am very much familiar with.
As for the story, I love it! I really like how Yee handled the characters. The fourth graders were a really fun bunch, which reminded me of my own friends from back then. Can’t say that much for The Freezer since American football isn’t big here and my father is a very good cook. Mr. Ellis-Chan isn’t so bad though; he sounds real enough, just that I can’t relate to him. And when Casey pops into the story, I see my own nieces: cute one minute then annoying the next. They’re also helpful and mean well when they do stuff for you.
But I think nothing like this happened during my stint as a fourth grader. Or maybe it did and I just don’t remember.
What I am sure of though was that sometimes the teacher would have a match of boys against girls. It would be counted as part of the recitation, just that it tended to be rowdy, annoying, and overall fun. Trying to prove that one sex was faster with coming up with answers and raising hands could be tiresome. But it was an experience that bonded those that belonged to the same sex, especially those that active participants.
Fun as the battle may be, it takes a strain on relations. More so when you have relations from those of the other side. Where do your loyalties lie: with your friend or with your team?
Yee presents that dilemma with Bobby and Holly. No matter how they try to keep out of each other’s way, they still run smack right into each other. And their teams—helpful as they believe they are—aggravate the situation further. Friends. What can you do?
Still, it all works out in the end. With but the simple solutions. It is fourth grade, after all.