Jasper John Dooley is being pretty Bad, but he’s not entirely to blame.
After another poor, distracted performance on the soccer field (because Jasper, in his yellow-and-black uniform, feels like a bee), his dad sends him to buy an apple juice, but he accidentally ends up with a caffeine-laden energy drink—a Bad drink. A few swallows leave him unable to sit still, and he’s awake for much of the night. To make matters worse, he hides the rest of the interesting drink in the refrigerator and sneaks some before school a couple of times. The consequences are alarming and eventually very embarrassing—but, of course, hilarious. Ori, his sensible, ever caring best friend, tries to intervene with a prescription for good health—celery “pills”—but Jasper chokes the dreaded vegetable down with more Bad drink. Brief text and ample white space make the short chapters easy to read; Jasper’s very normal but always humorous experiences make the reading fun. Even an unexpected trip to the emergency room for stitches takes on a flavor of silliness when Jasper concludes to a teammate, “They pay you for it. They pay you in suckers.” Clanton’s simple, lively illustrations match nicely with the narrative.
Another highly entertaining and enthusiastic outing in a series that’s perfect for readers new to chapter books and as a captivating read-aloud. (Fiction. 5-8)