Scattergood, Augusta Making Friends With Billy Wong, 224 pages. Scholastic Press, 2016. $17. Content: G.
It’s the summer before 6th grade and Azalea has been banished to Paris Junction Arkansas to spend the summer with her Grandma Clark whom she doesn’t know all that well. Besides dealing with her “mean” grandma, she also has to avoid the town troublemaker, the queen bee, and Billy Wong, a Chinese-American.
I don’t know well Richard Peck’s books circulate in your library, but as funny as I find them, I can’t get students interested in them at all. This is a similar “slice of life” historical fiction book, but not nearly as well written and definitely not funny. The author tiptoes around the racism against Chinese in the 1950’s (they were classified officially as colored) without really making a definable point. I also had a very hard time finding time clues within the book – while supposedly weeks passed, it read like most of the action happened within the same couple of days. There is just not enough coherence and strength here to hold together.
NOT RECOMMENDED. Cindy, Library Teacher