This is a humorous series about a group of friends at Plumstead Middle School. The friends are four sixth graders who are kind of misfits:
Eddie Mott – He tries hard to fit in but gets picked on for it. He has a crush on Sunny.
Pickles Johnson – His real name is Dennis. He’s an inventor and is always coming up with some unique invention. He got his nickname when he decorated his family’s Christmas tree with actual pickles, and the incident made the local newspaper. He has a big, green skateboard that he designed himself, and he calls it the Picklebus. It’s shaped like a pickle and big enough to carry him and his friends.
Sunny Wyler – Her real name is Elizabeth Sunshine Wyler. When we first meet her, she is trying everything she can think of to get herself expelled because she really wants to attend a different school with her best friend. She becomes reconciled to her new school when she makes friends there.
Salem Brownhill – She wants to be a writer, and she likes to be dramatic about everything. She uses incidents from her life and experiences with her friends in her stories.
They all become friends when the principal of their new middle school, T. Charles Brimlow, meets them on the first day of school and, after a series of odd incidents, decides to invite them to have lunch with him so that he can get to know them better. At first, he is particularly concerned about Sunny because he can see how angry and miserable she is on the first day of school.
Plumstead is a newly-built school, and these students are part of its very first sixth grade class. However, Sunny’s best friend is attending the area’s old middle school because of where the school boundaries were drawn. Sunny deliberately tries to offend everyone and fail at her schoolwork so that the principal will expel her and send her to the old middle school with her friend. However, the principal ends up helping Sunny to make new friends and feel more like a part of Plumstead. The principal is a very understanding man who genuinely enjoys getting to know his students, and he believes that their unique personalities are part of what gives a school its character. He makes it a point to know as much about all of his students as he can, sometimes to their surprise.
The author of the series, Jerry Spinelli, also wrote Maniac Magee.
Books in the Series:
The four friends get to know each other when they’re all sent to the principal’s office for various reasons.
Do the Funky Pickle (1992)
Eddie struggles to tell Sunny how much he likes her, but his attempts to get her attention accidentally attract the girlfriend of an eighth grade bully.
The kids become involved with their school’s football team. Sunny becomes a cheerleader who isn’t very cheery, Eddie plays football to try to impress Sunny, Salem starts managing the team, and Pickles shakes up the marching band.
People at school are keeping secrets. Eddie is trying to build muscles so people will stop thinking of him as a wimp. Sunny has a plan to get rid of school bullies. Pickles is working on a secret invention. Salem is trying to figure out who her secret admirer is.