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Alvin Ho’s first day of second grade confirms his fears:  he is still allergic to school.  Since the first day of kindergarten, he hasn’t been able to speak a word at school, and second grade will be no different.  Even worse, his desk buddy is once again Flea, who—despite having an eye patch and stiff leg that makes her look like a pirate—is a girl and therefore an undesirable desk buddy.  But through many misadventures involving chicken pox, Shakespearean curse words, and Johnny Astro, Alvin struggles to make friends and avoid scary situations—which for Alvin, means practically everything.

The Alvin Ho series is funny, realistic fiction for readers who have transitioned from Easy Reader books to chapter books.  The sense of humor and cartoon drawings may appeal to kids who enjoy the Junie B. Jones books and the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books—particularly readers who are not experienced enough readers to tackle DWK on their own.  I would recommend Alvin Ho to first through third grade readers who enjoy humor and/or realistic fiction.

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