Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy

In her Goodreads "review" of her book, Dana Levy wrote: "I'll be honest…I'm a sucker for 'comfort food' books." I'll be honest, so am I and The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher is a top notch comfort food book…and it's fun, too.

Meet the Fletchers - one dad, one papa, 4 sons, all adopted.  Sam is 12 and a star soccer player, champion eater, and nice guy.  Next comes Jax, 10,  African American, and about to begin 4th grade without his brother Eli, also 10 (no, they aren't twins) and who is starting a new school for gifted children.  And lastly, Frog, 6, (not his real name), adopted from India and ready to start kindergarten with his invisible cheetah, Flare.   Into this mix comes favorite Aunt Lucy, who bakes cupcakes for a living, and one very grouchy new neighbor, Mr. Nelson, who doesn't appreciate anything about the Fletchers (mixed races, mixed religions, two dads doesn't seem to faze him in the least, however, unlike soccer balls in his rose bushes, or skunks on his porch).

The book runs from the beginning of one school year to the beginning of the next one, and the chapters are almost like a series of vignettes.  At the beginning of each, there is a note from one family member to another which serves the purpose of moving time along, setting up the action to follow and providing information without a lot of explanation.

Each son has to deal with his own set of difficulties throughout the year which takes them way out of their comfort zones.  Sam lives and breathes soccer until tryouts for the school play are held and he gets bitten by the acting bug.  And his friends are not exactly supportive.

Jax has an assignment to interview a veteran and Mr. Nelson seems like the best choice, except he wants no part of the Fletchers.

Eli begged to go to the Pinnacle School where every kid is the smart kid, and though he likes the work, he can't stand everything else about it.

Frog and imaginary cheetah Flare love kindergarten, and they've made a new friend named Ladybug Li who has three sisters and two moms - but the question is are they real or imagined?

Everyone I know who has read Dana Levy's The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher agrees that the beginning is a little slow, but if you keep going, you will find yourself engrossed with this charming family.  There is really no big drama here, just everyday family life and the challenges and rewards it brings.  And there is lots of humor, love and support.  Interestingly enough, the diversity of the family isn't really an issue in the story.  No one is shocked, dismayed, angry, or judgmental that the family is headed by two men, or that the children come from different ethnicities.

Perhaps it is because the Fletchers are, simply, an American family, not so very different from the one I grew up in, just more diverse.

If you want to spend a most delightful school year, do read The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher then pass it on to your middle grade kids to read.

This book is recommended for readers age 9+
This book was obtained from the publisher

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is a weekly event hosted by Shannon Messenger at Book Ramblings, and Plenty of Shenanigans


6 comments :

  1. This one has a great premise. Might be a good read-aloud in a classroom or at home. The diversity angle is a plus, especially since it didn't become the focus of the story. I've got this one added for a future read. Thanks for featuring.

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  2. This sounds like a lot of fun! It's really great to see such a diverse family, but it's even better that this isn't the point of the book. I'll check this out. Thanks for the great review!

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  3. Nice to see a larger family of any kind in a book. My kids always notice how common it is to have an only child or just two kids in contemporary books.

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  4. I liked this, but it seemed a bit young for middle school students. Maybe it's the vignettes instead of having more of an overarching story. Certainly great for diversity!

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  5. Will for sure read this one and pass it along. Thanks for sharing!

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  6. This sounds fantastically fun. We will look for it. Thank you for sharing it with us, as you stopped by Stanley&Katrina's blog on the #KidLitBlogHop! Have a super day.
    Cool Mom for
    The Stanley & Katrina Gang

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