Just One Thing – Book Recommendation

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Title: Just One Thing


Author: N. Viau

Drawings by: Timothy Young

Publisher: Schiffer Publishing, 2016

Ages: 8-11

Themes: Bullying, learning to love oneself, not giving up, friendship


Chapter One — The Cloud of doom
I didn’t mind being Anthony Calvin Pantaloni for the first eight years of my life, but then–KA BOOM! While calling roll, my third grade teacher, Mrs Argyle, squeaked out, “Anthony Calvin Panty Loni?”

Panty? What?! In that exact minute, a big, fat, dark Cloud of Doom started forming over my head. I shrunk under my cloud, hoping for invisibility.
Every child about to enter middle school will be able to relate to this heart-warming, funny story. Anthony Pantaloni needs to figure out one thing he does well one thing that will replace the Antsy Pants nickname he got tagged with on the first day of fifth grade, one good thing he can own before moving up to middle school next year. It seems that every kid at Carpenter Elementary has a claim to fame: Marcus is Mr. Athletic, Alexis is Smart Aleck, Bethany has her horse obsession, and even Cory is known as the toughest kid in the school. Ant tries lots of things, but nothing sticks! It doesn t help that there are obstacles along the way a baton-twirling teacher, an annoying cousin, and Dad’s new girlfriend, to name a few. Just One Thing! is chock full of hilarious adventures that will keep young readers cheering until the very end. (Goodreads)
Why I Like This Book:
This story has perfectly pitched elementary school humor, and matches that with the heart and concerns of many 5th graders. Boosting one’s self esteem and navigating friendships, failures and single fathers are themes that have universal appeal.
The themes of learning to love yourself, friendship and acceptance are woven into Ant’s pursuit of finding the one thing that will set him apart, and every chapter is peppered with giggle-worthy moments for tweens.

Anthony Pantaloni,  known to most as Ant, has spent two years surviving under a cloud of doom. . .until he hits the fifth grade. Confronted with a new nick-name ‘Antsy Pantsy’, Ant struggles to find his identity and unique place among his peers. He’s also dealing with  while dealing with an annoying older female cousin who comes to live with him and his dad for a while, his father’s new romance and a a Mom who is geographically and emotionally distant through the novel.Ant is an average kid facing typical problems most of which aren’t his own fault. Family challenges, school annoyance and his constant inability to find the thing he is really good out all played out in funny and authentic scenes make for an easy, warm and hopeful read for any 3rd to 5th grader. Kid and adult readers will relate to trying new things and realizing after one or two sessions, they aren’t for us, or how easily we misjudge people. Anthony tries swimming and several other activities. He’s struggling to read and ends up getting glasses. His father starts dating his cousin’s drama teacher, who ends up being his substitute teacher. In the end, Anthony draws the winning sketch for the new school mascot, and the praise he receives confirms his artisitic gift, his one thing, as well as giving him hope that he make find his place and make friends when he move sup to middle school.

Childlike sketches decorate every few pages, illustrating what Ant is doodling himself. They are fun and cool and very typical of a 10 year old boy! Also, I love the addition every few chapters of a blank page and an invitation to the reader to add her/his own sketches.

The short length of 144 pages and illustrations make this an appealing read to reluctant and enthusiastic readers.

 The illustrations and invitation to add own doodles catches the attention and draws in the reader even the non artists.
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2 Responses to Just One Thing – Book Recommendation

  1. Kids can be so cruel middle school. This is a book that all kids (and adults) will relate to. I like that Ant finds away to show what he can do and help himself. Glad that there is some humor mixed in. Great book for young readers.

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