Ty is back, and he’s a little nervous about his latest class project: to practice random acts of kindness and then recite them to the class at the end of the week. After all, how can you “do random acts of kindness on purpose?”
He’s also promised his sister, Teensy Baby Maggie, that he’ll get her a pet; his best friend, Joseph, is in the hospital with leukemia; and his “sometimes best friend,” Lexie, nearly chokes him to death. This is a lot for any 7-year-old, and it’s particularly hard on a worrywart like Ty. While there are certainly kids out there who will relate to Ty’s nervous nature, many may be turned off by his narrative voice, which often seems babyish, inconsistent with a bright boy who understands what “random” means and corrects his teacher about it. Still, the biggest disappointment here is that Ty is clearly a kid with a big heart, and it’s too bad readers aren’t given the opportunity to feel a little more of what he does. For example, while there are references to Joseph’s cancer and hospitalization, they are few and far between. Dropping the C-bomb in an early chapter book feels like a big deal, one that’s worthy of a little more exploration.
A so-so read for the second-grade set. (Fiction. 5-8)