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JUSTIN CASE by Rachel Vail Kirkus Star


Shells, Smells, and the Horrible Flip-Flops of Doom

From the Justin Case series, volume 2

by Rachel Vail & illustrated by Matthew Cordell

Age Range: 7 - 10

Pub Date: May 8th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-250-00081-1
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Justin tries to convince himself that, in spite of his well-earned nickname, he is not a worried kid anymore and that summer vacation means that there is absolutely nothing to worry about.

He forgoes Science Camp for the kind of camp where he will encounter “runny-aroundy kids” and challenges of a different kind, which he looks forward to facing with grim determination. Some old fears do persist, like the evil Boiler in the basement, Jell-O and the rug-shampooer. Scary thoughts have a way of sneaking up on him and it turns out that camp provides an endless number of new things to worry about. Changing clothes, jumping in cold water, getting hit with a ball of any size, Swim Test, counselors, Color War and those horrible flip-flops all fill him with terror. Written again in the form of a journal, this sequel reintroduces the thoroughly delightful Justin Case in all his worried glory and very active imagination. Vail employs language and syntax that perfectly capture the thought processes of this precocious almost–fourth grader. Cordell’s black line, scribble sketches depict some of the goofier actions and Justin’s wildest imaginings. Justin’s self-deprecating voice cannot hide his core sweetness and kindness, for he remains a great brother, a generous friend and a hero, too.

Hilarious, laugh-out-loud fun for middle-grade readers. (Fiction. 7-10)