Erik vs. Everything

Christina Uss. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-358-12671-3
Much to the consternation of his boisterous white Connecticut family, which adheres to a collection of Viking family advice known as “the Lore,” nine-year-old Erik Sheepflattener’s motto is “AVOID STUFF. Or maybe just the word NO.” Though the rest of the Sheepflatteners don’t seem to experience fear, Erik worries about everything from piano lessons to team sports to the possibility of squirrels under his bed. While spending the summer with rambunctious cousins in Minnesota, Erik’s strong-willed older sister Brunhilde—who loves to quote Churchill’s wartime speeches and channels “her ancestral Viking spirit” —helps Erik conquer his fears by naming and testing each one. Anxious Erik is naturally unenthusiastic about this plan, especially the possibility of utilizing exposure therapy, but has trouble standing up for himself. As the tests proceed, however (including a mountain bike race down Bonebreaker Hill), he finds value in understanding his specific fears and even learns coping skills, such as deep breathing. This riotous second novel by Uss (The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle), interlaced with quotes from the Lore and a toddler’s edition of The Art of War, overflows with rollicking scenes of Viking-inspired mayhem and droll dialogue without forgoing respect for the difficulties wrought by Erik’s anxiety. Ages 8–12. Agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 06/17/2021
Release date: 08/03/2021
Genre: Children's
Compact Disc - 978-0-358-57862-8
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