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ALVIN HO by Lenore Look


Allergic to Birthday Parties, Science Projects, and Other Man-Made Catastrophes

From the Alvin Ho series, volume 3

by Lenore Look & illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Age Range: 7 - 10

Pub Date: Sept. 28th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-375-86335-6
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Back for a third adventure, anxious Alvin Ho faces such terrifying scenarios as a class visit to the houses of famous deceased authors in his Concord, Mass., hometown and negotiating the particulars of being invited to a girl’s birthday party, even as he yearns to be invited to the shindig of another (male) classmate. As in the first two in the series, illustrator Pham’s expressively appealing ink drawings add life, and Alvin proves an engaging narrator, whose imagination runs wild to hilarious effect. His likable, funny siblings and caring, if at times exasperated, parents are also along for the ride. Troubling in this volume, however, is that at the coveted boys’ birthday party, everyone is dressing up as Indians and settlers, and Alvin figures his ticket is a "deluxe Indian Chief outfit." Although there is a brief note in the always-creative glossary regarding the colonization of Native peoples’ land during King Philip's War, there is no textual mitigation of a running joke that seems anachronistic at best--readers may well be left feeling uncomfortable with the stereotype. (Fiction. 7-10)