“Do not let a mop sit overnight in water. Fix things before they get too big for fixing.” Fifth-grader Mattie Breen writes it all down. She has just one week to convince Uncle Potluck to take her on as his custodial apprentice before school starts. As his apprentice, she’ll have important work to do during lunch and recess . . . work that will keep her safely away from other fifth-graders. But when Mattie’s plans come crashing down, she ends up with a friend who is hound dog true.
""This outstanding, emotionally resonant effort will appeal to middle-grade readers.""—Kirkus, starred review
""Urban (A Crooked Kind of Perfect) traces a highly self-conscious child's cautious emergence from her shell in this tender novel about new beginnings and ""small brave"" acts... Urban's understated, borderline naïf narrative gives voice to Mattie's many uncertainties (""Always Mattie has been shy. Always school had made her feel skittish and small"") while expressing the quiet yet significant moments in her day-to-day life. Mattie's growing trust of others and her attempts to be ""bold and friendly"" lead to gratifying rewards for Mattie and poignant moments for readers..""—Publishers Weekly, starred review
""Internal drama, compelling characters, and Mattie’s strong voice propel the story of learning to do ""a small brave thing.""—Booklist
""There are many books that offer adventure and twists and unusual story lines. Most of them do not offer young readers such fine writing and real characters. That is hook enough.""—School Library Journal, starred review