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Author: Peck, Richard
Archer has four important role models in his life--his dad, his grandfather, his uncle Paul, and his favorite teacher, Mr. McLeod. When Uncle Paul and Mr. McLeod get married, Archer's sixth-grade year becomes one he'll never forget.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.10
Points: 6.0 Quiz: 184177
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 3.20
Points: 11.0 Quiz: 69334
Kirkus Reviews (+) (06/01/16)
School Library Journal (00/07/16)
Booklist (+) (07/01/16)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (07/16)
The Hornbook (+) (00/07/16)
Full Text Reviews:
Bulletin for the Center... - 07/01/2016 “Call my story ‘A Tale of Two Weddings.’ I was in both of them.” So says narrator Archer Magill as he stands amid the cake crumbs of wedding number two, chronicling in flashback the trail between being a first-grade ring bearer in the first wedding all the way to his current role as sixth-grade best man in the latest nuptials. The reminiscences appear in episodes, beginning with his meeting with flower girl Lynette, who stands up for him despite (or because of) his split shorts in wedding one; the memories become more hilariously interconnected as the years roll past. Yet it’s all building to a point: it’s important that Lynette’s mom becomes Archer and Lynette’s teacher, and that an incompetent school secretary triggers a school lockdown and media circus when Illinois National Guardsman Ed McLeod arrives as a new student teacher. And yes, it’s important that McLeod outs himself as gay to support a student who’s been bullied, because that’s how Archer knows McLeod’s a really great guy and perfect for Uncle Paul, who’s his hero, even though Archer just figured out what everyone else already knew about Uncle Paul (now he knows why his primary-school teachers read the class And Tango Makes Three and Daddy’s Roommate). Love wins the day and, after a wild ride among a family so warm and loving and liberal and politically correct that they’ve forgotten kids may actually require information, Uncle Paul and Ed McLeod tie the knot. Everyone’s there and everyone’s happy, even “Grandpa, still there in our hearts, except for about a tablespoon of him in Wrigley Field.” Sorry, you just have to read that part for yourself. EB - Copyright 2016 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 07/01/2016 Gr 4–6—The inimitable Peck frames his latest novel with weddings. Opening with a flashback to a hilariously disastrous wedding when Archer Magill was in first grade, the book closes with a significantly more staid one that occurs when he is in sixth grade. Most of the story, though, takes place between these two events, during Archer's fifth grade year. A military-based student teacher both disrupts Archer's class and enriches it, as does a new student who uses a wheelchair and comes from a British aristocratic background. High jinks abound, but so does serious content; in response to antigay bullying, Mr. McLeod gives the students a lecture in which he publicly outs himself, a particularly poignant moment. Outside school, Archer also shares daily adventures with his car-loving father, his grandfather (an elderly architect whose work is all over town), and his uncle Paul, whose romantic interest in Mr. McLeod might just well lead to another wedding. Here, the Newbery Award-winning author explores what it means to love and what it means to be a man. VERDICT A modern, funny, and realistic tale featuring strong, nuanced, and unforgettable characters. An essential addition for middle grade collections.—Jill Ratzan, Congregation Kol Emet, Yardley, PA - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 07/01/2016 *Starred Review* Two weddings bracket this amusing and ultimately moving novel narrated by 12-year-old Archer. In the first ceremony, he’s a 6-year-old ring bearer suffering from an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction. In the second, he’s the best man, resplendent in his first elegant suit. The episodic story covers all six years in between, though it focuses on the last two: fifth grade (featuring “three different teachers and a lockdown with cops” at school) and sixth, which brings a death and a wedding in the family. In two satisfying scenes, school bullies are brought low by adults. The novel’s distinctive characters are so believable that their lives seem to go on beyond the book. Always two steps behind his friend Lynette in comprehending what’s going on around him, Archer has a stout heart, an open mind, and good intentions. For years, he tends to parrot others’ opinions, but when he finally puts his own ideas together and speaks from the heart, his words and his timing couldn’t be better. This intergenerational story unfolds with a refreshing lack of sentimentality, and an emphasis on fathers and other male role models. Archer’s dad, his grandfather, and his gay uncles are portrayed with particular affection and respect. A witty, engaging novel from a master storyteller. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Peck is one of the most celebrated living writers of kid lit, and he’s even mounting a tour for this one. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 12/01/2016 Gr 4–6—Bookmarked between two weddings, this is a story of love, family, and friendship. Beginning with wedding number one, Archer Magill recounts his elementary school days leading up to middle school and wedding number two (the present). The boy's search for and appreciation of nuanced male role models is inspiring and timely, as is his teacher's treatment of antigay bullying. A light, refreshing read, wonderfully written by the always winning Peck. - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.