Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key
Author: Jack Gantos
Grade Level Equivalent:
Guided Reading Level:
School Life, Mental Health, Understanding Self and Others, Feelings and Emotions
"They say I'm wired bad, or wired sad, but there's no doubt about it I'm wired."
Joey Pigza's got heart, he's got a mom who loves him, and he's got "dud meds," which are what he calls the Ritalin pills that are supposed to even out his wild mood swings. Sometimes Joey makes bad choices. He learns the hard way that he shouldn't stick his finger in the pencil sharpener, or swallow his house key, or run with scissors. Joey ends up bouncing around a lot and eventually he bounces himself all the way downtown, into the district special-ed program, which could be the end of the line. As Joey knows, if he keeps making bad choices, he could just fall between the cracks for good. But he is determined not to let that happen.
In this antic yet poignant new novel, Jack Gantos has perfect pitch in capturing the humor, the off-the-wall intensity, and the serious challenges that life presents to a kid dealing with hyperactivity and related disorders.