Extra Credit by Andrew Clements

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When 6th grader Abby Carson is warned that she will be held back, she’ll do anything to reverse it. Extra Credit by Andrew Clements is obviously meant for children in 4th-6th grade but I would almost recommend it for 3rd graders. Older children and teens would not enjoy the juvenile writing in this childish novel. It is a “cute” read, but I would have rather not have read it (at this age).

Abby Carson from modern day Central Illinois loves to climb things and build forts but has trouble focusing on her schoolwork. Sadeed from Afghanistan loves his schoolwork and is top in his class but doesn’t enjoy much else. Abby, in order to pass 6th grade, has to write extra credit letters to Sadeed. But, Sadeed has to pretend to be his sister because in his village it isn’t proper that boys should talk to girls. Simply, Sadeed is jealous that his sister is getting credit for his writing, and Abby must get her grades up in order to pass 6th grade.

Extra Credit felt a little boring to me without much action, but I could relate to Abby, because she lives in the same part of Illinois that I do. The book is realistic fiction, but the events could very well happen. Andrew Clements writes a lot of books about kids with school problems that most elementary-schoolers could relate to. I did when I used to read all of his books.

If you’re looking for a short, easy read, Extra Credit is for you. It’s easy to write a report on and it takes a very short amount of time to read. It doesn’t have the greatest story in the world, but it’s easy to understand.
Maybe I’m being a little too harsh here; Extra Credit does show the great differences from the culture of Central Illinois to Northern Afghanistan. It also shows how Abby is worried about her little problems, but learns that Sadeed’s everyday occurrences completely blow away her minor discomforts. Clements showed a great knowledge of the ignorance of others that those of us with easier lives have.

The ending wasn’t quite clichéd, but it wasn’t exciting, either. The book is pretty good until the resolution. If you enjoyed Andrew Clements other books or you’re looking for a short, low-reading-level book, I recommend Extra Credit for you. Overall, I give the book a 4 out of 10.





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