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by Barbara Seuling & illustrated by Paul Brewer

Pub Date: April 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-8126-2686-9
Publisher: Cricket

Robert is back (Robert and the Back-to-School Special, 2002, etc.) and is facing some of the same challenges that most third-graders face: does he want to follow the group? Does he have any special talents that are his own? Can he withstand peer pressure? One of the cooler kids in his class is teasing him; seems his sneakers are not the current fashion. He begs for new shoes, wears too-small hiking books as a ruse, and giant blisters earn him an unwanted trip to the nurse’s office. Robert’s kind, understanding parents are always right there to help keep Robert on course—not like the lemmings his dad talks about. They understand his insecurities, listen, and let him find his way. His teacher, Mrs. Bernthal, gives the class an assignment: try something new. The indefatigable Robert takes on the challenge with the same good spirit that he has shown in earlier episodes of this amusing series. He tries asparagus (“It stinks!”) and painting (“I stink!”) and then, finally, he attempts the tuba (“Cool!”). It’s hard not to cheer for this pint-sized hero. His gentle conversations with Fuzzy, his pet tarantula, and his best friend Paul Felcher, show readers a gentle boy with a heart almost as big as the hair that illustrator Brewer has drawn for him. Just when the little trials of third grade threaten to take the smile off his face, his wise parents recognize just what their boy needs—a puppy. (Fiction. 7-10)