My Life As a Cartoonist
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There’s a new kid in Derek Fallon’s class. His name is Umberto and he uses a wheelchair. Derek’s family is still fostering Frank the monkey, and Derek thinks it would be great to train Frank to assist Umberto. But Derek quickly realizes that Umberto is definitely not looking for any help.
Derek soon becomes the butt of Umberto’s jokes. On top of that, Umberto starts stealing Derek’s cartoon ideas and claiming them as his own. How did Derek get himself into this mess, and how can he find a way out before he is the laughingstock of school? The answer may very well be his cartoon strip―SUPER FRANK!
Common Core Guide and Worksheets for the My Life As series, prepared by Maureen Connelly, EdD, and Janet Tashjian
“Derek Fallon — the underachiever star of two funny, perceptive books — returns, and this time he meets his match in Umberto, a new student who is in a wheelchair. At first it seems as if the two could be friends. Derek’s family is even training a capuchin monkey to be a service animal, and he can’t wait to tell Umberto about it. But after their first conversation, Derek realizes that sarcastic, flip Umberto doesn’t like him. In trying to defend himself, Derek is soon perceived as the kid bullying the boy in the wheelchair! Worst of all, Umberto is a cartoonist like Derek, but better. If all the Umberto travails weren’t enough, Derek’s crush, Carly, has started a relationship with an older boy, Crash. As with the other titles in the My Life As series, Tashjian’s son, Jake, provides the stick figures acting out the more difficult words and concepts. Great for reluctant readers (like Derek), this also neatly twists the bullying theme, offering discussion possibilities.” (Ilene Cooper, Booklist, starred review)