Operation Frog Effect
320p. Random. Feb. 2019. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780525644125.
Gr 3–5—Scheerger's (The Boulder Brothers: Meet Mo and Jo) latest is told through the voices of eight students in Ms. Graham's fifth-grade classroom as they deal with issues including bullying, homelessness, and immigration. Ms. Graham's teaching style relies upon her students' problem-solving skills, beginning with the injured frog that arrives in class the first day, and the students' decision to keep it as their classroom pet. The majority of the story is told through journal entries from each of the students. One of the kids writes in free verse, one creates a movie script, and another tells his stories through short comics. The students do not always understand the impacts of their actions, and one of their decisions leads to their teacher being removed from the classroom. The shifting perspectives lead to some characters having less depth than others, and not all of the characters ring with authenticity, but all the students experience personal growth as the school year progresses. The ending is unrealistically quick and tidy but will be satisfying to some readers.
VERDICT A hopeful, if somewhat predictable, story about students trying to resolve problems large and small.

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