Evelyn is both aghast and fascinated when a new boy comes to grade five and tells everyone his name is Queen. Queen wears shiny gym shorts and wants to organize a chess/environment club. His father plays weird loud music and has tattoos.
How will the class react? How will Evelyn?
Evelyn is an only child with a strict routine and an even stricter mother. And yet in her quiet way she notices things. She takes particular notice of this boy named Queen. The way the bullies don’t seem to faze him. The way he seems to live by his own rules. When it turns out that they take the same route home from school, Evelyn and Queen become friends, almost against Evelyn’s better judgment. She even finds Queen irritating at times. Why doesn’t he just shut up and stop attracting so much attention to himself?
Yet he is the most interesting person she has ever met. So when she receives a last-minute invitation to his birthday party, she knows she must somehow persuade her mother to let her go, even if it means ignoring the No Gifts request and shopping for what her mother considers to be an appropriate gift, appropriately wrapped with “boy” wrapping paper.
Her visit to Queen’s house opens Evelyn’s eyes to a whole new world, including an unconventional goody bag (leftover potato latkes wrapped in waxed paper and a pair of barely used red sneakers). And when it comes time for her to take something to school for Hype and Share, Evelyn suddenly looks at her chosen offering — her mother’s antique cream jug — and sees new and marvelous possibilities.
In this brisk, insightful story from Cassidy (Not for Sale), the first days of fifth grade prove eye-opening and confidence-building for heroine Evelyn, whose home life is on the strict and staid side. Change is in the air from the outset: during Evelyn's annual end-of-summer trip to the shoe store with her mother, they discover that the local institution has been replaced by a fluorescent-lit emporium called Budget Shoes; Evelyn winds up with a pair of canvas shoes instead of the "stiff leather loafers... that have dug at her ankles every year since kindergarten." At school, there's another new arrival, Queen, who shows up with a pink T-shirt, a dog named Patti Smith, and a name that makes him an instant target for jokes. Queen's breezy self-confidence is revelatory for Evelyn, as is her introduction to Queen's free-spirited parents ("Evelyn realizes she has never touched someone with tattoos. She's never touched a tattoo!"). It's an eloquent celebration of individuality and not hiding one's true self: something that (as Evelyn knows) isn't always simple, but (as Queen knows) actually can be. Ages 8 11.
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I have love this book forever and I could never find but I was so happy when I found it on audio books