Non-Random Acts of Kindness

illus. by Jed Henry. 128p. (The Life of Ty Series: Bk. 2). Dutton. Apr. 2014. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9780525422662. LC 2013032576.
Gr 1–4—In the second installment in this series, seven-year-old Ty must navigate the sometimes chaotic events of his life both at home and at school. When his teacher gives the class an assignment to do random acts of kindness and then present a recitation for the class, Ty feels nervous and slightly confused. He soon realizes, with the encouragement of his sister Winnie, that kindness is something that comes naturally to him and that even though people do make mistakes, there is no need to get bent out of shape about it. There are moments of humor and the character development is solid, but important moments in the story sometimes get glossed over. For example, when Ty's friend Lexie pressures him into breaking a rule, there are no consequences. Later, Ty and his friends are told that a classmate being treated for leukemia is well enough to come back to school, but the scene unfolds quickly and does not get enough attention. While there are moments of humor, kid-friendly dialogue, and Ty and other characters are well developed, the overall story lacks focus. Still, playful illustrations add a fun and engaging element to the text, making this a nice chapter book series that will appeal to boys and girls alike.—Melanie Okadigwe, Children's Literature Consultant, NY
In his second illustrated chapter book, second grader Ty struggles to complete his school assignment to perform"non-random acts of kindness" while also trying to fulfill a promise to get his baby sister Maggie a pet. Ty is instantly lovable, due to Myracle's strong writing; the narrative voice is authentic, and young readers will connect with Ty's thoughts and observations.

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