1/11/14 ** Clay has been known as a mischief maker, with 4-5 trips to the principal each month since kindergarten. That's just what folks expect - his older brother was just the same.
Then, Clay is challenged by his brother to clean up his act. Clements explores the difficulty that a near-adolescent has. Peer pressure, teasing, and taunts are all part of Clay's journey.
The opening of the book is very funny, with Clay's last major prank and his anticipation of sharing the escapade with his older brother. Near the middle of the book things slow down as Clay works hard to remake his image. It felt to me that things were too easy for him - the journey was too smooth. In a real human I'd expect the reform process to have more peaks and dips. I also would have appreciated more hints (foreshadowing) of who the "villain" pranking Clay was in the final third of the book.