The story

A person who can laugh at herself will be respected, right?

But Linda doesn’t laugh. And maybe that’s the problem. There’s something about her that makes Jill and a lot of kids in her fifth-grade class want to see how far they can go. But nobody, least of all Jill, expects the fun to end where it does.

Judy says

Based on an incident in my daughter Randy’s fifth grade classroom that never could have happened if the teacher had been tuned in to the kids in her class. Her lack of awareness made it easy for the class leader to use her power in an evil way, victimizing one student and turning classmate against classmate.

When I began this book I was determined to write the truth about the school-bus culture in the language of that culture. Blubber is funny to a point, then wham!

Some adults are bothered by the language and the cruelty, but the kids get it. They live it. In some places the book is used in teacher training classes to help future teachers understand classroom dynamics.


I had to go with it. Nothing else felt right.


This one is for my kids, who were my experts on 5th grade, bullies, the school bus, and more.

“This is an accurate, entertaining, warts- and- all picture of under-twelve social dynamics.”

–School Library Journal