Charlie Bumpers vs. His Big Blabby Mouth
When his classmates are boasting about their parents' jobs, Charlie gets carried away and leaves the impression that his accountant dad is not only the president of his company but also that he will hand out free calculators to everyone. With rumors flying around the school and expectations escalating, Charlie jumps the gun and tells his teacher Mrs. Burke that his dad can speak to their class during Career Week. Now Charlie has no choice. He has to get his dad to come in. But then, just before the big event Mr. Bumpers loses his job. Charlie is dumbfounded and devastated. How will he explain to his class? Will his dad still come in during Career Week? Fortunately, Mr. Bumpers has some very surprising plans of his own.
This fun series for young readers from Grammy Award-winning author, Bill Harley, uses humor to illuminate important values such as learning to live together as a family and making the best of a bad situation.
Career Day Catastrophe
Charlie's class is having Career Week, and parents are coming in to talk to students about their jobs. In typical Charlie fashion, our hero contends that his father is practically the president of his company, is a genius with numbers, and will bring in a calculator for everyone in class! He doesn't mean to do this, but it just... happens. When he asks his father to come, he gets a very negative response, so he mounts a campaign to annoy his father into coming. It eventually works, and his teacher is planning on his father coming in. Then, Mr. Bumper's loses his job in an organization restructuring. Charlie is concerned mainly for himself, and bugs his father about looking for work, and also about coming in for Career Week. He's also struggling with job issues of his own-- he is the class messenger for the week, but has a lot of trouble not running in the hallways. Charlie's older brother is aghast at how stupid and uncaring Charlie is being and calls him on it. When Career Week rolls around, Charlie's teacher tells him that something came up and his father couldn't make it... but there is a surprise guest, a wacky mathematician who looks oddly familiar.
Charlie is generally a good natured kid, but he makes predictable mistakes, and wants to impress his friends in a very typical 5th grade way. He is more self centered than his little sister (who gets by with cuteness) or his older brother (who understands how difficult things are for the parents), but he is not mean spirited about it. He just doesn't understand. It's encouraging to see that his parents understand this and try to help him grow as a person and learn to be empathetic to others.
This sixth book in the series covers a more serious issue than the other books, but pulls it off in a believable way. I especially enjoyed that Charlie's parents told him age appropriate details about what it meant for the father to be out of work. Matt is becoming my favorite, though-- can we see a slightly older set of books about him?