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Dan Gutman's My Weird School

Updated on April 20, 2015

Main Characters

Name
Job/relationship to AJ
AJ (Arlo Jervis)
Main character
Ryan
friends with AJ
Michael
friends with AJ
Neil
friends with AJ
Alexia
friends with AJ
Andrea
is AJ's opposite, rival for best student
Emily
Andrea's best friend, often called a cry baby
Miss/Mrs Daisy
AJ's second grade teacher, she is the titile of the first book
Mr Klutz
School Principal, has no hair, is often doing crazy things.
Mr Grantite
AJ's third grade teacher

My Weird School

The My Weird School books are a series of books based on a group of characters who attend Ella Mentry School, written by Dan Gutman. Although the main character in all the books is AJ, the books each have a separate story about a staff member or adult, whose name is usually the title of the book. You can, however, read the books in any order and independent of each other and still understand the plot and backstory.

They are chapter books, usually about 9 - 12 chapters in length and are full of illustrations. The recommended age range listed on the books is 7-10 years.

Dan Gutman

The back cover of the My Weird School books has the following description for Dan Gutman

' Dan Gutman has written many weird books for kids. He lives in New Jersey . . . with his weird wife and two weird children.'

His website www.dangutman.com. gives lots of information about how he became a writer and the other types of books he has written, including non fiction.

Why the Books Appeal to Children.

The combination of humor in the story and humorous illustrations keeps kids reading. The text is full of funny themes that reoccur through all of the books. For example every time the word wow appears it is followed by 'which means mom upside down'. If they need to move to another room they have to walk 'a million hundred miles'. There is a lot of play on everyday phrases that literally mean something different. One good example of the use of idioms is the use of the phrase You will never guess who walked in the door? Mr Klutz, of course he did not really walk in the door, that would really hurt.'

Children can relate to the evolving themes through the books. The characters, events and situations are all familiar things kids go through. Having to eat in the cafeteria, go out to recess, a trip to the nurse or the Principal's office and riding the bus are all within children's experiences.

The chapters are fairly short with lots of illustrations. Coupled with this the language used is very repetitive and friendly to those new to chapter books. The vocabulary used by AJ and the other students is similar to that used by children so they would be familiar with it.

Lastly, even though each story is about the same characters, school and locations all the books stand alone and are readable either in order or independent of each other.

Illustrations

The Illustrator of the books is Jim Pailot. He describes himself in the book cover as "lives in Arizona with his weird wife and two weird children. Isn't that weird? " On his website www.jimpaillot.com you can see his other illustration works. He produces comical illustrations for books, magazines and newspapers.

Example of a My Weird School Book

Source

Things to Know about Andrea

Andrea is AJ's rival for the best student in the class. She knows everything and has been to every type of afterschool class available. She is best friends with Emily and calls AJ by his full name Arlo, possibly because she knows he does not like it. AJ and Andrea often end up working together and get teased by AJ's friends that they must be in love.

Things to Know about A.J.

A.J is one of the main characters and the voice of the books. At the beginning of the series he is 6 years old and in 1st grade. He generally starts each book with

'My name's A.J.and I hate school.'

He has many phrases and provides most of the humor in the books through both what he says and does. He is in the Gifted and Talented program, dislikes his classmate Andrea, loves his action figure, loves peeps. A.J. has lots of adventures with his friends Ryan, Michael and Neil and they all think the word butt is very funny!

Book signing with Dan Gutman

Dan Gutman at a Book Signing.
Dan Gutman at a Book Signing. | Source

Specials books and the 3 Series

The books have been written in 3 different series' and a set of specials books. The sets are broken up into My Weird School, My Weird School Daze, My Weirder School and My Weird School Specials. They begin in Miss Daisy's class where we are introduced to all the characters and teachers and as the books develop the students graduate, go on field trips and get up to all sorts of adventures. The Specials are usually based on holidays, for example Its Halloween, I'm turning Green. The story is based on the Halloween holiday and the adventure that AJ and his friends get up to. The Specials books also include puzzles and activities in the back of the books based on the characters and the story in the book.

List of Books

My Weird School
My Weird School Daze
My Weirder School
My Weird School Special
My Weirdest School
Miss Daisy is Crazy
Miss Dole is out of Control
Miss Child Has Gone Wild
My Weird Writing Tips
Mr Cooper is Super
Mr Klutz is Nuts
Mr Sunny is Funny
Mr Harrison is Embarassin
Its Halloween, I'm Turning Green
Ms. Cuddly is Nutty (available June 2015)
Mrs Roopy is Loopy
Mr Grantie is from another Planet
Mrs Lilly is Silly
Deck the Halls, We're Off the Walls
Miss Brown is Upside Down (available October 2015)
Miss Hannah is Bananas
Coach Hyatt is a Riot
Mr Burke is Berserk
Bunny Double, We're in Trouble
 
Miss Small is off the Wall
Officer Spence Makes no Sense
Ms Beard is Weird
Back to School, Weird Kids Rule
 
Mr Hynde is out of his Mind
Mrs Jafee is Daffy
Mayor Hubble is in Trouble
Oh Valentine, We've Lost Our Minds
 
Mrs Cooney is Loony
Dr Brad Has Gone Mad
Miss Kraft is Daft
 
 
Miss LaGrange is Strange
Miss Laney is Zany
Dr Nicholas is Ridiculous
 
 
Miss Lazar is Bizarre
Mrs Lizzy is Dizzy
Ms Sue Has No Clue
 
 
Mr Docker is off his Rocker
Miss Mary is Scary
Mr Jack is a Mainiac
 
 
Mrs Kormel is not Normal
Mr Tony is Full of Baloney
Miss Klute is a Hoot
 
 
Miss Todd is Odd
Ms Leakey is Freaky
Mrs Lane is a Pain
 
 
Mrs Patty is Batty
 
 
 
 
Miss Holly is too Jolly
 
 
 
 
Mr Macky is Wacky
 
 
 
 
Miss Coco is Loco
 
 
 
 
Miss Suki is Kooky
 
 
 
 
Mrs Yonkers is Bonkers
 
 
 
 
Dr Carbles is loosing his Marbles
 
 
 
 
Mr Louie is Screwy
 
 
 
 
Ms Krup Cracks me Up
 
 
 
 

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In conclusion, the My Weird School Series is perfect for both boys and girls, beginner and fluent readers. The use of Idioms throughout the stories, the comic illustrations and the everyday experiences that occur appeal to everyone. The range of characters ensure all kids can identify with the stories.

Meet Dan Gutman

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