________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 10 . . . . January 21, 2005


Why Me? (Nate’s Journal).

K.E. Calder.
St. Catharines, ON: Vanwell, 2004.
93 pp., pbk., $6.95.
ISBN 1-55068-129-X.

Subject Headings:
Schools - Juvenile fiction.
Moving, Household - Juvenile fiction.

Grades 4-6 / Ages 9-11.

Review by Shelly Tyler.

**** /4

Nate is a grade 8 boy with big problems, at least big problems to a soon-to-be 13-year-old. First of all, he might fail math; secondly, he is going to be facing certain humiliation in front of the entire school, and finally he finds out he is moving to a new school!

I just got out of math class. Mr. Sweet handed back our math tests today. I got a "D"! A "D"! I've never got a "D" before. On the last test I got a "C." I'm getting worse. At this rate I could fail. I can't believe it. I hate math.

     Nate comes home from school one day to find a "For Sale" sign on his front lawn. With no warning from his parents about an impending move, he faces the fears any 13-year-old would. What about his friends? How can he leave his school? Nate comes up with a foolproof plan which entails joining the school band and playing the flute. If he can convince the school that he loves the music program, they can find a way for him to stay at the same school. A humourous trail of events happens along the way. Nate starts dropping some subtle hints about what he really needs for his upcoming thirteenth birthday, but, with the flurry of activity with the house sale, will his family even remember his big day?

     My parents have just gone to bed. I can't figure out what is going on. Did they forget my birthday? Impossible. Are they planning a super surprise? It would be really cool to have a cake and get a present at the stroke of midnight. They must be pretending to go to sleep so they can surprise me. Now I am pretending to go to sleep. I'm sure that's what they are waiting for. They forgot.

     The author of this book has done a great job of transferring the thoughts of a 13-year-old into the pages of a journal. The layout of the chapters is easy to read and follow along. The book has fine dialogue from the main character, Nate, and the humor is evident from the very first entry. The insight Nate has into his everyday surroundings is both witty and understandable for the reader. I am MANY years older that Nate, but I can relate to many of his pre-teen experiences he has at home and school. I would highly recommend this book both for young boys and girls.

Highly Recommended.

Shelly Tyler is a Reference Librarian for the Manitoba Department of Education in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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