Roger Tarkington and the Magic Calendar: Surviving Middle School is the second book in the Middle Grade Time Travel series by I.M. Maynard. It’s a great mystery and adventure with all of the same funny middle school antics that appear in the first book. Many of the kids and staff are honest and friendly but a few still gang up on each other. When Roger is assigned to read Robin Hood for class, he decides he could be “Roger Hood” by using his magic time travel calendar to help others any way he can. He has no idea he’s about to stumble onto a huge scandal. While he’s uncovering what’s going on and who’s involved, he time travels back and forth to certain days, problem-solving how to improve each situation. When his calendar accidentally gets damaged, he has an urgent problem to solve then. Nothing happens the way Roger first plans, but he is determined to follow through every circumstance and stand up for what he thinks is right. With surprises occurring beginning to end, this book is action-packed and fun to read.
Surviving Middle School focuses on Jefferson Middle School right before an exciting football championship, so even though the book is part of a series, it still makes sense as a stand-alone story. The good mix of characters resembles most of the typical stereotypes found at school. They all have memorable traits and interact with one another in lively ways that add humor and hold readers’ interest. As Roger brainstorms his way through various dilemmas, readers also sometimes feel like they know more about what is happening than the characters actually involved. The story is perfect for preteens ages 8-12 because it is not only imaginative, it is easy to read. The chapters are short, descriptive, and suspenseful. Each one is named for a middle school survival tip, and all of them listed together at the end of the story make up terrific advice for readers to remember in real life!