Study Guide

Room Tough-o-Meter

By Emma Donoghue

Tough-o-Meter

(4) Base Camp

You probably were expecting a 1 or 2 on the ol' Tough-o-Meter for a book narrated by a five-year-old. But Jack doesn't have an average vocabulary for a five-year-old. Sure, he watches Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob and plays with toys like Eggsnake and Meltedy Spoon, but he also talks to his Ma—and only his Ma—about everything. Sometimes he busts out big made-up words like "Hugeormous" (1.129), knowing it's a combination of huge and enormous.He knows that poignant means sad, but other times he has to be told that stable can mean someone is in good health, not doing something with horses.

So, while the words might be easy to read, it can be a little exhausting to be inside the mind of a five-year-old boy for so long, especially one as curious as Jack. He asks questions about everything, and while the long explanations are fascinating to him, they can be a little tiring to the adults involved. But stick with it, and he might teach you something… and not just about LEGOs.