Fourth-grader Michael is taken aback when new-kid Alex is seated next to him, even though his class has been told that the AIDS Alex contracted from a transfusion presents no danger unless he should have a cut or nosebleed. At first, Alex is ignored, even by the teacher, Mrs. Timmers; then Alex, who has learned that adults apply different standards to him because he's ill, makes friends with Michael when the two write a poem deriding the mean playground supervisor. Fortunately, Mrs. Timmers learns an important lesson from the incident, declares the poem unacceptable, and offers Alex the choice of being ""a visitor in my class, who gets special treatment, or [being] in my class."" Utilitarian fare, though it serves its exemplary purpose: in the story's brief timespan Alex becomes an almost normal class member who even gets invited for a sleep, over. When he is cut (a skating accident), no one panics; the teacher dons rubber gloves and bandages the wound. Sims's illustrations are lively and colorful, though black Mrs. Timmers' habitual expression seems to be cross even without cause.