This hilarious series looks at the world from the perspective of second-grader Alvin Ho. Alvin is scared of everything: trains, bridges, substitute teachers, girls, school… everything.

Thankfully he still manages to get up to mischief, catching chicken pox to get time off school and scaring himself speechless by believing his elderly piano teacher is the wicked witch from Hansel and Gretel.

But he’s also working hard to live up to his father’s gentlemanly standards: ‘no hitting, no insulting, no making anyone cry – even if she is a girl, and no Shakespearean style curses, unless they’re just for fun’.

The warmth and humour continue in the second book where Alvin’s absolutely worst fear has come true: he’s going camping. And Alvin does not think the great outdoors is so great… it is super-duper scary.

Luckily, he’s got his night-vision goggles and Triple Action Monster Eye Wide Beam Flashlight to keep him safe. And Uncle Denis’ super-duper list of secret tricks. And he’s got his dad, too.

Lenore Look’s touching, drop-dead-funny chapter book has the same appeal as Wimpy Kid but for a slightly younger audience, and I’d say it’s even better. It’s perfect for beginning and reluctant readers and has tons of boy appeal.

Clare Cannon lives in Sydney where she is the manager of Portico Books.

Clare Cannon lives in Sydney where she is editor of The Good Reading Guide and manager of Portico Books,...