The Best Man by Richard Peck

The Best Man by Richard Peck

The Best Man by Richard Peck (InfoSoup)

Released September 20, 2016.

Archer recounts the two weddings that he has been in, one really bad and the other really good and all of the time in between. The first was a wedding where he was in first grade and the ring bearer. He tried hiding in the bushes and only managed to get his outfit full of mud and to rip a hole in the too-tight cloth. The best that can be said is that it made a popular YouTube clip. Archer also managed to make a new friend that day, a friendship that would carry through his grade school years. As grade school progresses, Archer tries to figure out what type of person he wants to be. He knows that he wants to be like his grandfather, his father and his uncle. He also wants to be like his fifth-grade student teacher too, a handsome veteran who turns school into a media frenzy. It is the wedding of his uncle to his teacher that is the best wedding ever. As Archer matures, he shows the men around him what means to be the best kind of man too.

Peck is a Newbery Medalist and this one of his best ever. Peck takes the hot topic of gay marriage and makes it immensely approachable and personal. Archer is a wonderfully naive narrator, someone who isn’t the first in the room to figure things out. That gives readers space to see things first and to come to their own opinions on things. Then the book offers insight into being human whether gay or straight. There is no pretense here, just a family living their lives together and inspiring one another to be better than they are.

Peck’s lightness throughout the book is to be applauded. This is not a “problem” novel that grapples with the idea of gay marriage and debates it at length. Instead it is a book filled with laugh-out-loud humor and lots of delight. Alongside that is a great deal of poignancy with aging grandparents, the ins and outs of love, and the growth of characters throughout.

Entirely engaging and immensely readable, this is one of the best of the year. Appropriate for ages 9-12.

Reviewed from ARC received from Dial Books.


Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Awards 2016 Shortlist

In its third year, this British children’s book award has four categories that are age specific and the shortlist has three titles in each of those categories. Here are the shortlisted titles:


Never Touch a Monster, Board book Peekaboo Pals A to Z

My Enormous Book of Colours by Philip Dauncey, illustrated by The Boy Fitzhammond

Never Touch a Monster by Rosie Greening, illustrated by Stuart Lynch

Peekaboo A-Z by Becky Davies, illustrated by Gareth Lucas



The Bumblebear Oi Dog!

The Bumblebear by Nadia Shireen

Oi Dog! by Kes and Clare Grey

You Must Bring a Hat

You Must Bring a Hat by Kate Hindley



Claude Going for Gold! Dave Pigeon (Dave Pigeon, #1)

Claude: Going for Gold by Alex T. Smith

Dave Pigeon by Swapna Haddow, illustrated by Sheena Dempsey

Violet and the Hidden Treasure (Violet #2)

Violet and the Hidden Treasure by Harriet Whitehorn, illustrated by Becka Moor



The Bubble Boy The Crooked Sixpence (The Uncommoners #1)

The Bubble Boy by Stewart Foster

The Crooked Sixpence by Jennifer Bell

Time Travelling with a Hamster

Time Travelling with a Hamster by Ross Welford