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Zack Delacruz: Me and My Big Mouth by Jeff Anderson

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Zack Delacruz: Me and My Big Mouth: 04/22/18

Zack Delacruz: Me and My Big Mouth

Zack Delacruz: Me and My Big Mouth by Jeff Anderson is about two boys forced to work together to run the annual dance fundraiser. The problem is one has been bullying the other all through school. If they can't sell all the chocolate there won't be a dance and the sixth graders will be disappointed.

There are so many of these last minute fundraiser stories where kids not interested in fundraising or not liking their cohorts are thrown together with no other support. No friends helping. No teachers. No parents.

In some places in the country six grade is part of middle school or jr. high. For me, though, and my children, sixth grade was the end of elementary school. Fundraising in elementary school is almost entirely parent driven.

My daughter is now in middle school. Fundraising is about 50/50 between parents and children. Fundraising is done for dances, though usually the things needed for the dances are asked for directly from the students and parents rather than raising money to purchase the things. More importantly, though, the fundraising is done by a group of student volunteers who sign up for a seventh period (after school) leadership class. Their motivation for successful fundraising isn't through threats made to them, it's for grades and school credit.

Then there's the lingering dance as plot device. It too doesn't exactly ring true. Dances are certainly part of the middle school scene but they aren't the all school student body phenomena that they're always portrayed as in fiction. If a dance were cancelled for a lack of fundraising probably half of student body wouldn't notice or care.

More realistically, a partially funded dance could still be pulled off. They aren't that expensive to run since they are usually run on campus in the gym or cafeteria. It wouldn't be that hard to request participants to bring their own decorations.

Long story short, Zack Delacruz's anxiety over this fundraising seems forced for a situation comedy type story. None of it rings true and there's also an unfortunately written overweight character who ends up eating all the chocolate she's promised to sell. Really, what was the point in that except for fat shaming?

Two stars

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