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***Jake Drake

Teacher's Pet

by Andrew Clements

Reviewed November 24, 2003.
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, New York, 2001.  76 pages.
Available on for $3.99 in paperback.
Available at Sembach Library (JF CLE).

I once read that, although a writer should never use a coincidence to get a character out of trouble, you should feel free to use coincidences to get him into trouble.  If a character has amazing good luck, it feels completely unrealistic.  If a character has amazing bad luck, it feels like life.

In “Jake Drake, Teacher’s Pet,” Andrew Clements uses this technique to hilarious effect.  One day in third grade, everything Jake does seems to please a teacher, resulting in an announcement of how wonderful he is and the teacher patting him on the head. 

It all begins when he makes the mistake of telling his classroom teacher how to open a program on the computer.  It goes on in Art, in P.E., even with the principal in the lunch room.  When Jake finally decides he’d better start behaving badly to get rid of his stigma with the other students in the entire school, even his bad deeds backfire and teachers continue to praise him.

Here’s a short and quick, delightfully funny book that kids in the early elementary grades are sure to enjoy.

Reviews of other books by Andrew Clements:
The School Story
A Week in the Woods

The Report Card

Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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