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Alvin Ho is a fictional second-grader who is afraid of almost everything. Author Lenore Look has so far written three books about Alvin, and they continue to entertain. The first one, Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School and Other Scary Things introduces us to Alvin and his many fears, which include speaking in school, substitute teachers, and just about everything else. The best part about Alvin’s fears is that he doesn’t seem to mind if other people know about them. In fact, he carries around a PDK (Personal Disaster Kit) filled with things like a whistle in case he loses his voice, garlic for fending off vampires and a scary mask to keep girls away. The second book, Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters and the third, Alvin Ho: Allergic to Birthday Parties, Science Projects, and Other Man-made Catastrophes have Alvin facing new fears and trying to overcome them.
Alvin Ho lives in Concord, Massachusetts, and all the books contain historic facts and information. Henry David Thoreau figures prominently, as do Louisa May Alcott, the Minutemen and the Old North Bridge. Look has also worked in Alvin’s Chinese-American background, but in a subtle way that doesn’t take over the book. She also includes a glossary at the end of each book where Alvin defines various terms and Chinese words used in the book.
These books are perfect for grades 2-4, though they are long. However, the print is large and the many illustrations will keep younger readers engaged. Fans of Look’s Ruby Lu books will find Alvin Ho a great next step.