Published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Summary: Frederick Fredrickson sees kids in his class as lions, meerkats, or fleas who live on the meerkat’s butt. He, unfortunately, is a flea, with no prospects of moving up in the hierarchy. When a prank results in him being cast adrift in a boat, he winds up landing downriver at a weekend camp designed to “transform” boys. He poses as Dash, an infamous troublemaker, and finds himself accepted by the odd cast of characters he’s grouped with. When a Category 5 hurricane bears down on the camp, leaving Frederick and another boy stranded there, he discovers the true meaning of courage and what it takes to be a real friend. 290 pages; grades 3-6.
Pros: A great choice for reluctant readers, especially boys, with plenty of humor and sympathetic portrayals of kids who feel left out at school. Illustrations by Dan Santat, who seems to be producing about half a dozen new books every year, add to the fun.
Cons: I never really warmed up to Frederick.