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"Give me a dollar or I'll spit on you." That's Bradley Chalker for you. He is the oldest child in the class. He tells enormous lies. He picks fights with girls, and the teachers say he has "serious behaviour problems." No one likes him - except Carla, the new school counsellor. She thinks Bradley is sensitive and generous, and she even enjoys his far-fetched stories. Carla knows that Bradley could change, if only he weren't afraid to try. Sometimes the hardest thing in the world is believing in yourself.
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There's a Boy in the Girls' BathroomReview:
There are so many ways that a boy like Bradley Chalkers can humiliate himself at school. Most of them are explored by the hero of There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom, a story of isolation, bravery and gradual acceptance told with great humour by Louis Sachar, the author of the brilliant Holes.
Bradley is the only one in Mrs Ebbels class without a gold star next to his name on the wall chart. He doesn't have any friends and that's the way he likes it. Nobody wants to sit next to him at the back of the class, until Jeff Fishkin starts school. At the same time Carla, the new school counsellor shows Bradley that with a huge amount of courage and a bit of self-belief he can break the repetitive cycle of heartbreaking rejection by his peers, disappointment from family and weary indifference from teachers.
Bradley has a long road to travel with the help of his new friends but the resultant changes aren't pious or predictable but slow, painful and humorous. The witty, thoughtful exchanges between Bradley and Carla are exceptionally well written and the slow and delicate process of building trust is completely believable. A touching, warm and funny tale with no saccachrine aftertaste. --Rachel Ediss
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