Flying Solo

Overall: 5 out of 5 stars

My coworker uses this book in her 4th-5th grade book club and, after I waxed rhapsodic about Because of Mr. Terupt, she recommended that I read this one too. The two books are very similar, about how a class behaves when their regular teacher is absent. The kids in the classes grow a lot emotionally and learn a lot about themselves. I almost like this one better, though, even though it’s a little bit older. First, there’s no suspense about where the teacher is or if/when he or she is coming back. The story is more focused on the kids as a group and how they work together to make sure that no adults realize they’ve been left alone all day. Also, I just plain love that they make it through the day together and don’t do anything stupid. It shows how smart and capable kids are, even if they are only 10 years old. Finally, most of the characters have some sort of emotional breakthroughs with what they went through together earlier in the year with the death of a classmate, and their breakthroughs are completely believable. It’s a quick read (a couple of hours, total), but I was still rushing to finish it and felt I was right at the climax of the story just as work started and my coworker kindly let me sit in the back and read the last two pages, which was great.

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