From Louis Sachar, the creator of Wayside School and Holes. Despised by his peers and dismissed as an uneducatable menace by his teachers, troublesome fifth grader Bradley Chalkers is content to spend his time at school alone - until a new transfer student and a empathetic school counselor turn his world upside down...
Tropes in this book include:
- Adorkable: Jeff, and later, Bradley.
- The Bully: Deconstructed.
- Book-Ends: The book begins with Bradley giving an sarcastic smile that might have been a frown to his fifth grade class, and ends with Bradley giving a sarcastic frown that might have been a smile to his ceramic animal collection.
- But Now I Must Go: Carla
- Companion Cube: Bradley's ceramic animal collection.
- Consummate Liar: Bradley. Thanks to Carla, he loses his gift for lying about halfway through the story.
- Deceptively Silly Title: The title references two short scenes that have nothing much to do with the plot, which is about a depressed, lonely, and troubled boy coming out of his shell.
- Friendless Background
- HeelFace Turn: Bradley
- Kiddie Kid: Bradley: He's in fifth grade and still talks to his ceramic animal collection.
- Moral Guardians: A group of loudmouthed "Christian Mothers for Decency" petition the school board to get rid of Carla because she was supposedly corrupting the schoolchildren. They succeed.
- No Social Skills: Bradley.
- Shout-Out: Carla reads to Bradley from J. D. Salinger's Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters.
- Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Bradley.
- Wondrous Ladies Room: Bradley expects the girls' washroom to be fancier and have toilets with pink water, but after he goes inside he realizes it's the same as the boys' washroom.