Published by Scholastic Press
Summary: Emma’s been homeschooled all her life, but when her brother starts high school, she starts feeling left behind, and decides to go to public school for fifth grade. The night before she’s starting school, her game warden father gets a call about a rabbit that’s stuck in a fence. Emma goes along for the rescue, and ends up falling in love with the rabbit, a tame former pet, whom she names Lapin. School gets off to a rough start: Emma gets paired with Jack, a boy with autism, for a class project, and starts to worry that her association with him will prevent her from making other friends. But she has a kind heart, and with the help of her family and Lapin, she figures out a way to help Jack while navigating the uncertain waters of fifth grade friendships. Includes an author’s note explaining where her inspirations for different elements of the story came from, and encouraging readers to draw on their own life experiences for their writing. 192 pages; grades 3-5.
Pros: Cynthia Lord has written another winning middle grade novel that would make an excellent read-aloud or book club book. Emma is an honest and caring narrator, and readers will relate to her experiences at school. Lapin’s appearance on the cover will make this book irresistible, and kids will enjoy Lord’s nonfiction Borrowing Bunnies for more information on pet rabbits.
Cons: The ending wrapped things up a bit too neatly.