Evan and his little sister Jessie are both in the fourth grade, not because they're twins, but rather because Jessie skipped a grade. Jessie is particularly good at math, very focused, feels strongly that things should be fair, and believes that rules are meant to be followed.
When one of their classmates, Scott, announces that he now owns a fancy new Xbox 2020, Evan sees red. He knows exactly where Scott got the money for it - Scott stole that money, over two hundred dollars, from Evan's shorts when they were swimming at a friend's house. Evan doesn't have any proof that Scott did it, but it's the only explanation. Then Jessie comes up with a plan: she's going to bring the truth to light in a court of law created by her and her classmates.
I checked this out from my library's Overdrive without realizing that the library owned the first book in audio as well, or I'd have started with the first book instead. It looks like I'll be listening to this series out of order.
And I do plan on listening to the first book. I enjoyed this second book in the series more than I expected to, considering that Middle Grade fiction usually reads too young for me (yes, I know that's the point - I'm not the intended audience for these books and I realize that). Jessie and Evan were great characters, both flawed in their own ways but still good kids.
Jessie didn't quite feel like she fit in. I sympathized with her trouble figuring out where to hang out during recess (or was it lunch? I can't remember). The way she really got into her courtroom plan reminded me a bit of myself. I could imagine her tossing and turning in bed, unable to stop thinking about all the things she still needed to do before the trial. She'd taken on the responsibility of both setting up as realistic a trial as possible and acting as Evan's lawyer.
Evan was really into basketball and had a bit of a crush on one of his classmates, Megan, who was also his sister's friend. I hated the way Evan acted in one particular scene, but the good thing was that he hated how he'd acted too, once it was all over, and took the time to try to do something about it.
This ended in a way that was more peaceful and friendly than I expected, and I liked the layers it added to the characters.
The peeks at Scott's home life hinted at his motives, even if Evan couldn't see them, and I'm looking forward to finding out character information I missed by skipping the first book.
One nice detail: each chapter began with a definition of a term or phrase relating to courtroom proceedings (for example, "perjury"). Usually it was something illustrated by a character's words or actions in that particular chapter.
(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)
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I feel horribly betrayed by this book.
I read the third book in this series (found it in the lending library) and enjoyed it, so when I saw the first book as an audiobook at the library, I figured it would be a good read.
It all started well enough. Fudge is his usual annoying self, which leads to funny incidents and learning experiences for all involved. I was really enjoying it and it was heading for at least a 4-star review.
Then came the ending.
I do not and have never liked stories where needlessly bad things happen to unsuspecting animals. When Peter wins his turtle, Dribble, at a birthday party in the first chapter, I was prepared for the worst. When nothing bad happened to him, I figured I was just overly paranoid. Dribble is fine for chapter after chapter, so I forgot about my unease. Then came the last few chapters and I was just not prepared. It was horrifying. The characters eventually laugh off the incident, but come one, Fudge is a freaking psychopath. I am glad I read this as an adult and not a child, because I would have been so upset, I can just see my little self crying uncontrollably. A horrible and completely unnecessary thing to happen in a children's book.
Not recommended for sensitive children, especially animal-lovers. If they do read it, just skip over the last few chapters.
The rest of the novel was well-done, which is why I still gave it 3-stars. I knocked a star off for that disgusting ending, but otherwise the novel was fine.
I am left with a new-found hatred for Fudge though. Before he was just annoying, now I can't stand him.
Probably my least favorite of Judy Blume’s children’s books so far. I seem to remember enjoying it as a child, but unlike the Ramona and Beezus and Henry books, it has no charm for me as an adult reader. Peter is cursed with an obnoxious little brother who gets all the attention and ruins everything. Originally written in 1972, the substance of the story doesn’t rise above its dated references and gender stereotypes.
The only other thing I can say is, poor Dribble. He probably wished Peter didn’t have a little brother, either.