Pack of Dorks: Book Review

“What’s wrong with them?” I whispered to Dad…

“They’re noticing that Molly has Down syndrome.”

“Oh” I said, “That’s it?”

“Yeah,” Dad sighed and stood again.  “That’s it.”

“But she’s still a baby.  I mean, they wanted to see a baby.  She’s a baby.”

Vrabel, Beth. Pack of Dorks. New York: Sky Pony, 2014. 102-103. Print.

Lucy is a grade four student who is popular in her school but then finds herself on the receiving end of a constant stream of belittling from a ‘friend’ who intentionally removes Lucy from the popular group.  While this is happening at school, her home life is turned upside down when her sister, Molly, is born with Down syndrome.  Lucy is accepting of her sister and is beautifully indifferent to her Down syndrome, but struggles with feeling neglected by her parents who go through a period of major adjustment after Molly’s birth.  Through a study of wolves which teaches her a powerful metaphorical lesson and through the steadfast loyalty of a true friend, she arrives at the decision to ditch her quest for popularity and let her true self shine.  Her authenticity is rewarded with far more satisfaction than she ever enjoyed in her days of highest popularity.

Reading level:
– easier than Young Adult fiction but similar in terms of being highly relevant and engaging.
– would be a great read for students who enjoy the story lines of Young Adult realistic fiction stories but find them too linguistically challenging.

Key Messages:
– Acceptance of diversity
– Authenticity over popularity

“Our class has packs, too.  There are some people who think they’re alphas.  People who think they can act however they want or do whatever they want because, for some reason, they act powerful.  But real alpha wolves take care of the rest of the pack.  They aren’t just in charge in order to be cruel.  Here, the kids who think they’re the most popular, or the coolest, they’re usually the biggest jerks.”

Vrabel, Beth. Pack of Dorks. New York: Sky Pony, 2014. 210. Print.

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