Dodger and Me by Jordan Sonnenblick

Dodger and Me is about Willie Ryan.  You see, Willie is not the most popular kid in 5th grade.  In fact, he might even be the least popular.  His baseball team calls him Wimpy, his best friend moved away a few months ago, and stupid Lizzie (from England) won’t stop following him around.  Oh, and Lizzie is constantly embarrassing him by cheering at his baseball games.  To make it worse, she says all the wrong things!  Plus, Willie’s mom treats him like a complete baby and is the queen of safety.  But all that begins to change when he gets his very own magical blue chimp wearing an eye patch and orange Bermuda shorts.  Dodger suddenly appears out of what he refers to as a lamp and what Willie is convinced is a broken teapot.

Willie already knows he is pathetic and he doesn’t really need a giant blue chimp to follow him around and constantly remind him of his loser status.  However, once Dodger enters his life, nothing is ever the same.  The question is, is that a good or bad thing?

This is a great book for middle grade readers, especially boys.  It’s silly without being over-the-top.  Willie is easy to relate to and is a pretty typical 5th grade boy.  And who doesn’t dream of having a goofy blue chimp around to grant their wishes?  Sonnenblick has always been a favorite of mine for his older middle grade/young adult novels.  But he clearly knows younger elementary kids just as well as he knows middle schoolers.  I predict this will be a hit with my kids!