By Claudia Mills, Illustrated by Guy Francis
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $12.99, 176 pages

Mason Dixon does not like new things. He does not like his new school supplies for the fourth grade, he does not like his new notebooks and he does not like his new activity of being in the fourth grade chorus, the Plainfield Platters. Forced into at least trying the chorus, Mason works hard at finding loopholes to his participation. Eventually, though, he is forced to make a choice between supporting his friend or continuing to hide in the shadows.

Mason Dixon:  Fourth Grade Disasters is a fun story with a great main character in Mason Dixon. Mason, not being a cheery kid, challenges his parents into working hard to get him to look at the bright side of things and go outside his comfort zone. Slowly but surely, Mason finds that trying new things isn’t all bad, especially when it helps his friends. The story goes along quickly, has great illustrations and will leave a smile on your face.

Reviewed by Barbara Cothern