Book Review – Alvin Ho: Allergic to Birthday Parties, Science Projects, And Other Man-Made Catastrophes

Alvin HoAlvin Ho by LeUyen Pham

Book Source: Checked out from the library

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The third installment of this series about worry-ridden second grader Alvin Ho runs along the same lines as the previous two. Alvin is still carting his PDK (Personal Disaster Kit) everywhere he goes, still making lists, and still trying to navigate the tricky spots where the world of girls and the world of boys intersect, especially since his best friend happens to be a girl. There are some very touching moments when Alvin gets a little bit of guidance from his father, while Alvin’s struggles to communicate with his mother and his bickering with his older brother and younger sister keep the family life from getting too sweet. Alvin’s relationship with his dad is a stand-out feature of this series; as in most kid books, the parents are largely relegated to the background while the children take center stage, but Alvin’s parents (especially his dad) are clearly level-headed, responsible, loving parents, and Alvin’s respect for them shines through.

LeUyen Pham’s appealing pen-and-ink illustrations add just the right visual element to Alvin’s ridiculous predicaments. Any of the books in this series can stand alone and would be a good choice for fans of Roscoe Riley looking a little longer (though still quick-paced) read.

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