This second series entry (EllRay Jakes Is Not a Chicken, 2011) features an unofficial popularity contest and EllRay's struggles to extricate himself from the fix he gets into after he tries to take a shortcut to earn the respect of his classmates.
This time, the kids in Ms. Sanchez's third-grade class are engaging in one-upmanship; Jared's dad has a new ATV, Cynthia's dad has a really cool car, Kevin's dad has a lot of money and so on. EllRay can't think of anything his geologist dad has that would impress, except crystals, which his father personally collected from all over the world. EllRay brings the valuable rocks to school and somehow finds himself giving them out to his classmates, which is a problem, since he didn't have permission to borrow them in the first place. EllRay's attempts to right the situation ring true; he resists adults' attempts to fix the problem and manages to solve it himself, though not without paying a bit of a price in allowance money and embarrassment. As in the previous book, the dialogue, setting and plot are accessible and realistic. Young readers can identify with EllRay, who is neither a bad seed nor a goody-two-shoes; he and his sense of humor are just right.
A welcome addition to the tales from Oak Glen Primary School. (Fiction. 7-11)