So, I’ll start by admitting that this series is wildly popular, a huge hit with kids. That said, I can’t say as I’m a fan. I just have a hard time appreciating books where the main focus is tricking kids into learning and an abiding hatred of school. I can understand their appeal, but I don’t love them.
In Miss Daisy is Crazy, A.J. shows up for second grade and his first announcement is that he likes football and video games and he hates school. Also, he’s certain he’ll never need to learn to read, because he’s going to be a professional athlete.* Imagine his surprise when his teacher announces that she also hates school and would much rather be home watching TV and eating bonbons. Of course, Miss Daisy could just be faking her hatred of school and complete and utter ignorance of all school related subjects, but she certainly captures her class’s attention.
While first grade readers that are very advanced could probably read this, it’s my feeling that a very advanced reader would have a hard time associating with the main character’s utter hatred of all things learning. The book is far more likely to be a hit with older students who struggle in school. I would consider this on grade level for second graders and an appropriate beginning of the year pick for on level third graders. Some of the harder vocabulary is defined in context. The author is well-known and well-liked so older kids need not feel embarrassed about reading books that are too babyish.
A possibility for: Kids who hate school or who are reluctant readers.
Sex, Nudity, Dating – None
Profanity – there’s a lot of “hate”
Death, Violence and Gore – When a little girl says she wants to be a nurse when she grows up, A.J. asks why she’d want to do that when “people come into hospitals all sick and injured, their arms falling off, their guts hanging out.”
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – None
Frightening or Intense Things – None