Friday, December 20, 2013

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Babies, Burglars, and Other Bumps in the Night (2013)

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Babies, Burglars, and Other Bumps in the Night. Lenore Look. Illustrated by LeUyen Pham. 2013. Random House. 183 pages. [Source: Review Copy]

With each book in the series, I find myself liking the series less. In this fifth book in the series, Alvin Ho is dealing with something tragic: the pregnancy of his mother. I had never thought of Alvin Ho as being particularly stupid and/or hard of hearing, yet, when the book opens with his mother nearly nine months pregnant and him acting as if the news is brand new, I lost respect for Alvin. It is not as if this would be his first younger sibling. If that was the only slight issue I had with the book, I wouldn't have found it that bothersome. But what bothered me the most is the "sympathetic pregnancy" of Alvin, the fact that everyone: his mother, his older brother, ALL of his classmates, his teacher, his mom's doctor, everyone teases Alvin about his fat little belly that looks "eight months pregnant." Granted, not every one who mentions Alvin's pregnancy mentions an exact month. But this teasing about his belly, his weight, made me uncomfortable at best. Alvin and his classmates go to the library and read books on pregnancy; they look at pictures and decide amongst themselves how "far along" each boy is based on the size of his belly. It was just very strange. I could understand how children might get confused and misunderstand the language of adults, or the origin of babies in general. But, when Alvin openly walks around saying things like he's about to have a baby, that he obviously believes his "sympathetic pregnancy" is a real pregnancy and there are no adults in his life (or an older brother even) who tells him the truth, well, it just bothered me. Alvin's gullibility even makes him appear foolish ON television. I don't enjoy cringe-worthy books. The humor felt all wrong in this book. I don't really understand why there was a second story about burglary if there wasn't going to be much resolution to it. Alvin is afraid of enough without adding to it.

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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