Rummanah Aasi
  I don't remember ever having an imaginary friend when I was younger. Maybe it is because I come from a large family. I have four other siblings who are always with me and I never had a chance to be alone. If I was going to have an imaginary friend then I would want someone who was funny, fun to be around with, and a huge bonus would be if he/she had magical powers in case I got in trouble. Wouldn't that be great? As Will finds out in Dodger and Me, that decision is yet to be made.

Description: Poor Will. He is completely miserable. His best and only friend has moved away. He cost his baseball team a game because he can't hit a ball and Lizzie, the English girl at his school, won't leave him alone. After walking home alone after a long day, Will takes a trip through the forest only to find Dodger, a blue chimpanzee who has special powers who promises to be his new best friend.  


Review: Dodger and Me is an enjoyable read. Will aka Willie by his peers, is funny and self deprecating. At first I felt bad for Will as I learned about his horrible day, but then he changed into a character who tried to use his wishes to gain things from himself and I was a bit annoyed at him. Like many other stories that revolve around wishes and genies, Will grows more wary and realizes what's really important to him. Similarly to heroes who are granted wishes, he doesn't make good choices, but he finds a way to correct himself and becomes smarter because of it. He is a good narrator, who thankfully, doesn't have spell out the lessons that he learned along the way. At times though, the narration seems a bit unbalanced. There are quite a few complex words like "stupefied" and "rendezvous" used and I'm not entirely sure that a fifth grader knows what those words mean or would even use them. 
   I think kids will love the humor in this book, especially Dodger, who reminded me a lot of Genie from Disney's Aladdin (I just realized that both are blue!). A character who has good intentions and means well, but has poor execution on his promises. As a side note Dodger's surfer dialogue, which I'm sure will be a hit with kids, really irritated me mainly due to the overuse of the word "Dude". I hear "Dude" 40 hours a week at work while working with teens and it gets a bit irksome. It's hard enough to avoid using the word in my own vocabulary along with extraneous amount of "like". Overall, Dodger and Me is a cute, but predictable story.  


Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 3 to 5.

If you like this book try: Dodger for President by Jordan Sonnenblick
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