Alvin Ho is allergic to everything, mostly because he is afraid of everything. The thing he is most allergic to is school. Alvin is so allergic to school that he can’t speak in school. It’s hard to make friends when you can’t speak. Making friends becomes more difficult when Alvin is stuck sitting next to Flee, a girl who wears an eye patch and walks like she has a peg leg. Alvin seeks advice from his brother and father about making friends. Alvin learns that chicken pox don’t come from chickens, that piano lessons can be scary, and being a gentleman is the most important thing (if he could just remember what a gentleman does!). Oh, and Alvin learns how to insult like William Shakespeare.
I thought this was spectacular! The writing is well-crafted and the characters are well-developed. The setting (Concord, MA) even plays an important part in the book. Alvin is one funny kid, if he could only get over his fear of everything. The whole family was delightful, from little Anibelly who saves Alvin more than once, to his older brother Calvin who is great at giving advice to his parents who love their son. Even Gunggung (grandpa) helps out. A real treat! And, it makes for a great read-aloud. 172 p. 2008. SH 3/09