Mikey McKenzie, in Principal Mikey by Derek Taylor Kent, is no ordinary ten-year-old boy. He is a larger than life character who thinks he could solve many everyday problems if adults ever paid any attention to him. After most of the kids at school get sick with the flu, he and his best friend, Justin Gluck, set out on a mission to find out how it happened. When Mikey intentionally causes trouble in class to get sent to the principal’s office, he shares so many creative ideas about how to improve the school that the principal gives him her job while she’s away for a couple of weeks.
The mean vice-principal is out to get Mikey the whole time, and Prairie View School winds up turning into a three ring circus of fun. Even the superintendent and School Board come to check out what’s happening. In the end, the characters learn about the importance of family and friendship. They realize that even though our best plans don’t always turn out the way we expect, they can turn out better. Probably the most important lesson of all is that no matter how fast anyone wants to grow up, just being a kid is a great thing to do.
Principal Mikey is a fast-paced, action-oriented story that reads like an over-the-top comedy show would play out. It also shows how a kid as principal could make school a positive place to spend time. The main characters are a good mix of boys and girls as well as men and women. A few are pictured exactly as they are described in the book. Most fit the typical personality stereotypes anyone would expect to see at school. Mikey just happens to have a mind that’s always working overtime to fix problems that no one asked him to solve, so there’s practically never a dull moment on any page.
The best part of the story is that readers see him realizing he’s made some mistakes and that maybe his first opinion about people isn’t always true. Through the process of trial and error, he learns to work out compromises with people and change his plans to make school better for everyone. I think 8-12-year-olds who appreciate humor and want to read a book that makes them laugh would like this book best.