Kids' Books We Love
Book reviews from Youth Services

Flying Solo

  Fletcher, Ralph

Publisher: Clarion Books
Number of Pages: 138
Check the availability of this title at Skokie Public Library
More information about this title.


Realistic fiction
School story

Material Type/Location:

Youth Fiction

Reading Level:



Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Book Award Nominee
Voice of Youth Award Nominee

Book Cover from Syndetics Solutions

Why I liked this title:

When their substitute teacher doesn’t show up for school one day, a classroom of sixth graders decides not to report the absence and to run the classroom themselves. The book deals with the emotional ups and downs of growing up and is told from the perspective of many different students, including a boy who is moving the very next day and a girl who has been mute since the death of a classmate.

Reviewed by: Amanda "Mandy" O'Brien on 2/27/2004

The question of what a sixth grade class would do if the school administration did not have a clue that the substitute teacher never showed up is one that will intrigue readers.Mr. Fabiano is a teacher who has taught his students with a daily routine filled with creative lessons and personal empathy, and although he only appears at the end of the book, the students have “Mr. Fab” with them throughout a difficult day. Each of the students has a reason for accepting Karen’s plan to conduct the class themselves, and as the day progresses the group dynamics become more clear and at times painful. These are students who have not come to terms with the death of a classmate 6 months earlier, one whom many had teased. They are complicated individuals who carry problems from home that they bring with them every day. Bastian, who is a bully, is leaving the school after this, his final day, and his departure causes an emotional crisis which nearly exposes what they have been doing all day!

Although this is a serious book, there is much humor; the possibility of such a day occurring is a tantalizing thought. Could such a thing happen in your school? Do you think your class could conduct itself the way Mr. Fabiano’s did? Is there something you’ve done to a classmate that you regret?

Reviewed by: Louise Barnett on 3/19/2009

Similar Authors:

Andrew Clements

Similar Titles:

The Teacher's Funeral : a Comedy in Three Parts by Richard Peck see our review
Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea.
Also Known As Harper by Ann Haywood Leal see our review
Listing Generated: 12/17/2014