Who Is the Bucks Bandit?

Andrews McMeel. (Diary of a 5th Grade Outlaw). Sept. 2020. 192p. Tr $13.99. ISBN 9781524860899.
Gr 3-7–The Merry Misfits are at it again as Halloween arrives and with it, a new student. Wilu seems kind of weird and standoffish. Should the gang try to befriend him? When the Bonus Bucks disappear from the teacher’s desk, keeping kids from getting rewarded for good behavior and performance, accusing fingers point to Wilu. Narrator Robin isn’t so sure that the new guy is the culprit and decides to get to know him better. What is really happening to the Bonus Bucks? All is revealed in a climactic scene riddled with accusations, misunderstandings, and hurt feelings. This series will attract reluctant and struggling readers. The story line is simple and linear. The print is large, the size of the book is manageable, and the first-person narration puts readers right in the middle of the action. The attractive book design boasts full-color illustrations that help to move the plot along. Loveless drops lessons about giving people a chance, doing the right thing, and not getting caught up in the school rumor mill. In this book featuring a racially diverse cast defying gender norms, readers will learn from Robin’s example, and maybe give fellow classmates the benefit of the doubt. Previous knowledge of the other books in the series is helpful, but not necessary.
VERDICT Not an essential purchase, but schools will find this series especially helpful for supporting struggling readers and teaching proper school citizenship.

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