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THE CLASSROOM by Robin Mellom


The Epic Documentary of a Not-Yet-Epic Kid

From the Classroom series, volume 1

by Robin Mellom & illustrated by Stephen Gilpin

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: June 19th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4231-5063-3
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

A documentary crew descends upon Westside Middle School to reveal what middle-school students’ lives are really like.

At the heart of the story is Trevor Jones, just starting middle school. He’s a worrier and a “pre-thinker,” and, despite his claim that he’s not worried about seventh grade, he has it all planned. He's got brand-new clothes, and his yogurt stick is frozen just right to be the perfect temperature by lunchtime. Unfortunately, his best friend forever, Libby, shakes his cool at the bus stop when she informs him about the upcoming dance and how he must ask a girl by the end of the day. The whole novel revolves around the dance and the attendant social drama of middle-school life. Though readers never find out much about the making of the documentary itself, it’s a clever contrivance. A third-person narration alternates with interviews with the major players. There’s Trevor, Libby, eighth-grader Corey Long, Wilson the custodian, and seventh-grade gossip Cindy Applegate among the several main players. Illustrations add appeal to the story, including cartoonish drawings found in Trevor’s notebook, a “Social Skills Training” pamphlet found in Counselor Plimp’s office and drawings from Libby’s Hola! Kitty Cat! sketchpad.

All in all, a silly but appealing story for readers approaching the middle-school years. (Fiction. 9-12)