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Reviewed by Janelle Fila for Readers' Favorite
Also Known As Lard Butt by Ann Herrick is a preteen story about two best friends starting fresh in junior high. At such a tender age, friendships, relationships with the opposite sex, family dynamics, body image and teasing are all important issues for students (and girls especially). Laura has issues, like most junior high students. Her parents are separated. A terrible nickname has followed her through grade school and the student that dubbed her "lard butt" is back in her class. She isn't doing well at swimming, and the boy she likes might just be using her to make his girlfriend jealous. But throughout her trials, Laura never gives up on herself or her friendships, and is able to learn valuable lessons about life, love, friends, and family.
I really enjoyed a lot about this story, especially the message. I thought it was cute and clever and a really sweet way to promote the idea to kids that it is okay to have a healthy body image, make friendships, and even lose with grace and dignity. Kids will relate to Laura and the stresses of junior high. Should they be nice to the guy that bullied them? How do they stay in a sport when they are teased? How do you keep that teasing from affecting your athletic ability? Many students also worry about boyfriends and girlfriends at this age, and will worry along with Laura about who they really like and if they like them back. A cute, funny read that middle school students will love!