Fearless Joe Dearborne
Written by Lisa Whitney Mitchell
Sixth grader Joe Dearborne has a reputation for being fearless. After all, he runs into a burning house to rescue a puppy, broke his leg while trying to rescue a cat from a tree, and rescued a girl who had slipped through the frozen ice. Joe’s best friend, known as Green Beans, tells all of this to Willy Randolph, a local reporter. In the event of danger, Joe is just not able to feel fear. But Joe has a big problem, he has promised his father that he would stop doing dangerous things.
When his father hears about this latest escapade, he grounds Joe. The next day, Joe decides he will pick up a poisonous snake in the hopes that it would make him feel afraid. He succeeds, but not in the way he had hoped because his is bitten and becomes seriously ill. As the rest of the story unfolds, Joe will meet a new housekeeper who does her best to make his life miserable, his father’s business wanes, readers meet his zany Aunt, and Joe meets a new friend named Meg. Joe will need to grapple with fear in new and unexpected adventures.
This middle grade adventure combines coming of age issue, family relationships, elements of mystery and a bit of humor. I especially like the introduction of a new vocabulary word with its meaning at the beginning of the chapters. The plot has enough twists and turns to keep readers on their toes, and enough character development makes you want to believe in them. In my opinion, the book has most appeal to middle grade boys and girls, but it can be enjoyed by teens as well.
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