Joe Dearborne is a boy in 6th grade who lost his mom about a year before to an accident. Losing Joe’s mom made his dad become over protective of him, and made Joe turn into a bit of a fearless daredevil. This changes dramatically when Joe is bitten by a snake as his boldness goes a bit too far — thus turning his former spunk into paralyzing fear. Joe now needs to regain his courage… and fast! His father goes away on a business trip leaving him alone with sinister Ms. Chill — a newly hired housekeeper who has her eyes set on destroying his family.
Fearless Joe Dearborne is a chapter book novel for 8-12 year-old readers. The story is full of action and thrills, suspense and heart… and perfectly appropriate for the younger crowd. Joe, our lead character, is a very interesting boy who suffers a deep change throughout the story. Lisa Whitney Mitchell, the writer, allows us a very rich close-up view of Joe’s psyche and his transformation. He does have a marked arc with plenty of conflict (both internal and external) which makes the book a page-turner read for both children and adults. I devoured the whole book in a couple of days, and I can’t wait to give it to my little Miss I to read too (she’s 6, but she’s reading at 3rd grade level…). This would make a perfect story to share with any kid who has been a victim of bullying, empowering them to find courage and strategies to deal with conflict.