Levy, Dana Allison. The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher. Delacorte. 2014. $15.99. 272p. HC. 9780385376525.
The Fletcher family consists of two dads (Dad and Papa), four adopted boys between the ages of 6 and 12, a cat, and a dog. During one school year, the Fletcher boys must all deal with problems at school and the grumpy neighbor. Sam, the oldest, is known as the soccer star but starts to realize he may have interests and talents elsewhere. Fourth-grader Jax struggles with a changing friend and a year-long school assignment. Eli, also in fourth grade, attends Pinnacle, a school for the gifted which might not be as great as he had expected. The youngest, Frog, is excited to make new friends and ride the bus to kindergarten, as long as there’s always a seat for his invisible cheetah!
The Fletcher family is a hilarious and lovable bunch, and each member has his own distinct personality. Although each character faces problems, the overall tone of the story is lighthearted, and many scenes are laugh-out-loud funny. Each chapter starts with a note or a text to give insight about the chapter’s focus. The chapters are fairly episodic, and the writing uses third-person narrative that shifts among the four boys.
The Fletcher family is diverse: two boys are white, one is African American, and the other is Indian. The dads were brought up in different religions and do their best to embrace the cultures of all their children by celebrating a variety of holidays from various religions. The book succeeds in celebrating differences within a diverse family while keeping the focus on their relatable day-to-day life.
Targeted toward upper level elementary students, Misadventures will appeal to a variety of ages. Clean content, large doses of humor, and range of the characters’ ages of the characters make the book a good read-aloud. Readers who fall in love with the Fletcher family will be pleased to hear that a sequel is planned.
Jenna Goodall, Youth Services Librarian
Deerfield (IL) Public Library