It's a new school year and Plumstead Middle School is opening its doors for the very first time. Everything about the place is new, from the classrooms to the gym, from the science labs to the lunch hall. The school principal, Mr. T. Charles Brimlow, is determined to get the year off to a good start. He memorizes every student's name and profile, but it's a handful of sixth graders that seem to take up all his time.
There's Sunny Wyler, who refuses to bathe and wants to get expelled — all for good reason. There's Eddie Mott who hopes to survive sixth grade by being friendly, wearing the right clothes, and avoiding eighth graders. Salem Brownmiller is an aspiring writer with a knack for getting involved in other people's business and Pickles Johnson is as much an inventor of gadgets, as he is of bright ideas — to get himself out of trouble.
Principal Brimlow calls these four kids to his office, where they eat lunch and get to know each other. He names the sixth graders his Principal Posse and assigns them, among other things, to come up with a name for the new school mascot. But for all his hard work, one thing Principal Brimlow can't help them with is negotiating the new world of middle school. That's something each of these kids will have to do for themselves.
Young readers are sure to identify with this story by Newbery Award-winning author Jerry Spinelli. The comic touch of his writing catches all the awkwardness and uncertainty of middle school adjustment.