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Alvin Ho: Allergic to Dead Bodies, Funerals, and Other Fatal Circumstances
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Alvin Ho: Allergic to Dead Bodies, Funerals, and Other Fatal Circumstances (Alvin Ho #4)

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4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  282 ratings  ·  64 reviews
Here's the fourth book in the beloved and hilarious Alvin Ho chapter book series, which has been compared to Diary of a Wimpy Kid and is perfect for beginning and reluctant readers.

Alvin, an Asian American second grader who's afraid of everything, is facing something truly scary: the idea that someone he loves might die. When Alvin's GungGung loses his best friend, Alvin...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published September 13th 2011 by Schwartz & Wade (first published January 1st 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 496)
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Irene
Hats off to Lenore Look for tackling a sensitive subject like death. I used to wonder why so many children's stories include a parent or both parents dying, and then I read an article about how stories about death and other difficult subjects allow kids to safely explore emotions and ask questions without having to actually face or discuss their own personal fears.

I think the author did a fantastic job giving young readers a context in which to discuss death, funerals, fears, cultural customs,...more
Heather Barrett
This is a good read. It is about an Asian American second grader. This would be a good book to bring some culture into a classroom because it discusses some of the customs of Alvin's heritage. It also uses a few words that are then defined at the end of the book in a glossary so that the reader can begin learning a new language. This would also be a good book to offer to an Asian American child to read if they are frustrated about all the characters in other books not being like them. For exampl...more
Julia Reynolds
Alvin Ho has a serious mishap when his inability to talk in school accidentally convinces his classmates and teachers that his grandfather (and not his grandfather’s good friend) has died. Serious comedy ensues. Funerals and wakes are planned, people show up at relative’s houses to pay their respects, and eventually the truth comes out – all while Alvin has to deal with normal test anxiety and family worries and being strong enough to go to his very first funeral with his grandfather. Cute, grea...more
Heidi
Jan 20, 2012 Heidi rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ages 7-10
Shelves: humor, juv-fiction, series
Second grader, Alvin Ho was born scared and is still scared to this day. He’s scared of book reports, reading in class, thunder, lightning, principals and vampires just to mention a few. When Alvin learns that his GungGung’s (Grandpa) best friend (Charlie) has passed away, he offers to accompany his GungGung to the funeral. However, Alvin has never been to a funeral and has no idea of what he’s gotten himself into. The problem with making a HBP (Horrific Big Promise) is that no matter how freake...more
Emmet O'Neal Library- Children's Department
Yeah, yeah, I know I’ve reviewed an Alvin Ho book already. But how could I resist the latest volume, in which Alvin adds dead bodies and funerals to his exceptionally long list of things to be afraid of? The main plot has him spending most of the book trying to work up the courage to go to a funeral (gulp) he has impulsively agreed to attend with GungGung, his grandpa.

Aside from the usual antics and unlikely heroics you’ve come to expect from Alvin and his PDK (Personal Disaster Kit), this book...more
Heidi
In many books, the more the reader connects to the main character(s), the more they are likely to appreciate the book. At least that is true in my experience, but not always. Sometimes the author makes the character so real that you can sympathize even without having similar experiences. Alvin Ho is one such character. His fears and good intentions make him a very sympathetic character, even if one does not have numerous fears as does Alvin. In this fourth book especially, it is easy to relate t...more
Victoria Whipple
Alvin Ho is, to me, one of the most endearing characters in children's literature today. He is quirky, smart, sensitive, funny and so real! In this book, Alvin is experiencing the death of someone he knows (his grandfather's best friend) for the first time. Sure, he lives in Concord which is full of dead authors, but he never actually knew them. Because of Alvin's inability to talk in school (though he is still seeing his therapist who is a psycho for this), combined with the good intentions of...more
Jen
I feel the same about book 4 as I did/do about the first three books in the Alvin Ho series: that it was enjoyable but not necessarily a great read for kids to read by themselves, and that Alvin is a whiner. Anibelly sums it up best when she says, "...He got busted a lot. He cried all the time. He could scream his head off..."

This book, however, gets one less star than the other three because I've finally had enough of his inability to talk: when his whole class, his teacher, the school libraria...more
Leslie
A cure for those hours steeped in academia ala textbooks and essays? Lenore Look’s Alvin Ho. I’ve been intrigued by the title for awhile, Alvin Ho: Allergic to Dead Bodies, Funerals, and Other Fatal Circumstances, so when I saw it face-out on the Library shelf I brought it home. This is the fourth book in a series that I’ve been assured will continue with a fifth in 2013. I picked up the other books from the Library today. Yes, I adored my first treatment that much.
*
Alvin Ho is an anxious 2nd gr...more
Alison
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
babyhippoface
I have loved Alvin Ho since I met him in his first book. With this fourth title in the series Lenore Look has given us Alvin at his very best and bravest (even with several mortified moments in between).

Your average elementary student is afraid of death, dying, and most everything associated with it. I'm talking about real death here, not some fake movie death. Lots of them are desensitized to that in this graphic day in which we live, but when it comes to the idea of their own death or the deat...more
Andria
The one thing that I think it did nicely was touch on child anxiety without making fun of the child. The grown ups were supportive of the child and I don't think that there are many books/series that cover this issue directly. Other than that the book was ok but not anything exceptional, seems like many other realistic fiction books that I have read.
J
Adorable Alvin Ho is back, but he's got new fears to face. He impulsively told his GungGung (grandfather) that he would attend a funeral with him. He works himself into quite a lather, imagining bad omens everywhere and starting to worry that his own GungGung is pretty old and could die at any moment. And on top of that he's got a big history test to take, and he inadvertently led everyone to believe that it was his own GungGung who died, and now they are planning a memorial service for him. Wha...more
Nancy
Read this with 9 yr old and couldn't put it down. I am already a fan of Alvin Ho; read the first one as well, and son has read all 4. This is beautifully done. I seriously cried, then laughed, then cried. It has bits of true good humor, and a moment or two of almost wimpy kid or big nate style lightness, but for the most part is so very much richer than those books. Talks frankly about the death of Alvin's grandpa's best friend, and the inner life of Alvin and the dynamics of his family make me...more
Gwen the Librarian
This one is more of a 3.5 stars...
I love Alvin Ho because he has all kinds of neuroses which make him totally accessible and funny for kids, but also tackle issues along the way. This fourth volume is an issue book - Alvin's grandfather's friend dies and Alvin agrees to go to the funeral - which is super scary, why did he do that? Death of a loved one is the primary focus of the story, in a multitude of ways, and it is dealt with with humor and tenderness, making this a terrific book for kids to...more
Heather
I LOVE Alvin Ho! So cute, funny and full of fears that many kids experience. In this book, Alvin volunteers to attend a funeral with his Gun-Gun (what was he thinking!!-Alvin is fantastic at psyching himself out!) A misunderstanding at school (Alvin can't talk at school) leads to his entire second grade class holding a memorial service for his grandfather. Despite the mix-ups and anxieties described, this book also does a good job at reassuring children that being worried is ok, and that support...more
Ofilia
Alvin's back and dealing with a sensitive subject that lots of kids struggle with--death. When Gungung's best friend dies, Alvin finds himself inexplicably volunteering to accompany his grandfather to the funeral. This, of course, completely terrifies Alvin. With her trademark humor and unique characters, Look creates yet another memorable Alvin Ho book. She does not tiptoe around the subject of death, funerals or the big questions of what happens after death. She confronts it all with honesty,...more
Angie
Oh, Alvin. You're back! And you're funny again (last one ... eh, not so much).


"'I've heard of people 'cheating' death,' said Ophelia.
"What's that?' I asked.
'I think it's like cheating on a test,' said Ophelia. 'You've gotten a D for death, but you change it to an A for alive, when nobody's looking.'" (p73)


There were more but that's the only one I marked. Not all of the jokes will be understood by a second grader. But boy howdy will the teacher reading it out loud have to try not to giggle. And t...more
Lisa
Book #4 in the Alvin Ho series, second grader Alvin has agreed to do the unthinkable: Attend the funeral of Gung Gung’s best friend with him. Alvin has never been to a funeral, and is very worried about what it will be like. His inability to talk at school leads to a huge misunderstanding. This is the fourth book in this series, and while it seems pretty serious for a second grader, it is handled beautifully and is well resolved. Fun quick read. Although Alvin is a second grader, I would think t...more
Debra
Alvin is a second grade boy who is afraid of everything. The subject of this book is death and funerals which seems depressing, but it is hilarious to see how children perceive the rituals and misunderstand them and the terms that are used to describe them. A friend describes a wake as where you sit around in a room with the dead body and party while you wait for it to wake up, if it doesn't wake up you have a party anyway.
What holds these books together is the wonderful family relationships, t...more
Robert Carter
An okay read. Kind of overly frenetic, but it does have a human core.
Katrina
This is the first Alvin Ho book I have ever read. That being said I was taken a little aback of the numerous stresses/phobias/paranoid quirks that can be contained in a single body of a small boy...yet I still found him very funny and endearing. This particular book in the series deals with the heavy subject of death, however Look is able to find a humorous and delicate balance in showing how kids and families learn how to deal with their emotions while not being disrespectful or preachy. Kids a...more
Amy
This is the fourth book in this series and while I was definitely familiar with the character, I must confess I haven't read any of the series until now. I love this neurotic second grader! In this book Gung Gung's friend dies and Alvin promises to attend the funeral before he realizes that means (horror of horrors) that he will need to see a dead body! Very funny! The only thing about this series that I find a little strange is that it is a perfect reading level for grade 3 or grade 4 kids and...more
Shelli
Alvin Ho's lovable Gung Gung has just found out that his longtime best friend has died. Alvin wishing to console his Gung Gung offers to go with him to the funeral service. Is this promise bigger than Alvin? Dead Bodies are scary things and all the items in Alvin's P.D.K. (personal disaster kit) won't be enough to work up the courage he needs to comfort Gung Gung.

Another super fun book in the Alvin Ho series. This one did start off a bit slower than the rest, but many many fits of laughter ensue...more
Megan
Alvin faces the scariest thing yet: death. When his grandfather's best friend dies, Alvin has to think about what might happen if someone he loved died. Then he volunteers to go to the funeral with his grandfather even though he is scared to be in a room with a dead body. And because of a misunderstanding at school, everyone thinks it is Alvin's grandfather who has passed away, and they start planning a memorial service in his honor. If only Alvin could speak up and set the record straight!
Megan Marvel
Not thrilled with this children's chapter book. So often authors treat kids like they're dumb, and it's really quite annoying. You do not need to repeat phrases 3-4 times within the book. You do not need to make up words or make your sentences sound dumber (e.g. "he knew that he knew that I would..."), just say it like a person normally would. The few cute moments in this book are overshadowed by its annoying dialog and slow plot.
Abby Johnson
Alvin Ho's back to his usual antics! When his gunggung's friend passes away, Alvin volunteers to go to the funeral even though he's scared. But when a terrible mix up at school has his entire second grade class thinking that Alvin's grandpa has died, Alcin must figure out how to make things right. A solid entry to this series that will have kids chuckling along even as they identify with some of Alvin's fears.
Alice
Absolutely hilarious story about this Chinese American kid called Alvin. His grandfather's best friend dies and he finds himself volunteering to go to the funeral with his grandfather. GASP! Do you really wait around during the wake and wait to see if the person wakes up? How will he survive being in the same room with a dead body AND passing his history test? This is a very funny chapter book.
Joenna
A fearful second grader in Concord, Massachusetts, learns about death when his grandfather's best friend passes away and he offers to accompany his grandfather to the funeral.

I really liked this one in the series. Would be a good recommendation for a elementary school student dealing with death or questioning death.
Jessalyn King
I don't know if I was just in a sad mood from the storm outside, but this book made me sad... It reminded me of the people who've died that I knew and even Alvin's accidental shenanigans didn't quite cheer me up until the end... Sigh. It was really good.

(Oops. I first put this review on the wrong book...)
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267992
I first began making picture books in kindergarten because my other career option at the time was stealing. But a life of crime requires practice and patience, neither of which I had, so I settled into industry, making what I coveted but what my parents could not afford to buy: beautiful books like the ones my teacher read to us in school.

Publishing was no problem in those days, not like it is no...more
More about Lenore Look...
Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things (Alvin Ho, #1) Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters (Alvin Ho, #2) Ruby Lu, Brave and True Alvin Ho: Allergic to Birthday Parties, Science Projects, and Other Man-made Catastrophes (Alvin Ho, #3) Brush of the Gods

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