Book Title & Alexandra's Review

Erik vs. Everything by Christina Uss

4th Grade and Up

Meet Erik Sheepflattener. Each member of his modern-day Viking heritage family has a motto to live by. His parents have Family and Pride. His sisters have Conquer and Win. His grandfather has Turnip. But Erik is developing a motto he can truly believe in: Avoid Stuff.
Erik’s fierce family mostly ignores or discounts him, especially when he tries to say no. But while spending the summer with his rough-and-tumble cousins and older sister Brunhilde in Minnesota, axe-wielding Brunhilde gets the idea to name and conquer all of Erik’s fears. Will anyone hear him say no before it’s too late? And will Erik end up defined by his fears or fearless family?


If you’re a fan of Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon (the movies, not the books), then you’ll love Erik Sheepflattener.


First off. Sheepflattener. Awesome last name.


Secondly, I wasn’t sure about the modern-day Viking concept until Erik’s older sister, Brunhilde, entered the scene. Besides Erik, she was my favorite character. This girl has fully embraced her Viking heritage, speaking in an old-fashioned Middle Ages kind of way and comparing things to battles to be conquered. She is way over the top, and I love her for it.


As someone who battles fear and anxiety on a regular basis, I emphasize with poor Erik. Living with anxiety is no easy feat. Your senses are on high alert, the crushing weight of fear and dread, the waves of negative thoughts inside your head. It is not for the weak. I appreciate how Brunhilde acknowledges that Erik has been suffering from his fears all his life, and yet he is still standing.


It should be mentioned that people react to anxiety in different ways. For example, Erik’s reaction was to scream and hide under furniture. My response is to freeze up and go silent.


While I don’t agree with all of Brunhilde’s methods of identifying and battling Erik’s fears, at least she’s trying to help him, unlike the adults in his life. Seriously, there are so many times when Erik was saying no or clearly in distress, and the adults did nothing to help. It’s frustrating to be around people who just don’t get it or don’t listen when you say no, like your feelings don’t matter.


I like how hard Erik tries to avoid his fears. I found his stubbornness relatable. I also found many of his fears reasonable. I agree with his fear of pain and bleeding. Pain should be avoided if possible, but it shouldn’t stop you from trying new things and having fun. That’s why paying attention to safety protocols is important. I also understand Erik’s fear of the phone ringing and talking on the phone. The ring blaring without warning, and the unpredictability of a conversation is unnerving. I do question his fear of squirrels, though. But when I was his age, I was terrified of square dancing, so I’m in no position to judge.


Overall, this was an amusing fast-paced story with a character that any child with anxiety can identify with. It was a joy to read about Erik’s journey to manage his fears and gain confidence in himself.


Before you go, I’d like to share with you a few of my favorite snippets of Sheepflattener Family Lore:

One can sew wings to a goat, but that doesn’t make it an eagle.

You needn’t swim faster than the shark, only faster than the swimmer next to you.

Night is dark. But dawn is always coming.

When the biggest tree needs felling, take it one chop at a time.

When tired, sleep. When hungry, eat. When faced with the unknown, stand up straight with your shoulders back.

Stained by Cheryl Rainfield

High School Sixteen-year-old Sarah Meadows longs for ‘normal.’ Born with a port-wine stain covering half her face, she’s been plagued by stares, giggles, bullying, and

Afraid of Everything by Adam Tierney

HAPPY 150TH BOOK REVIEW And to celebrate, here is a book of short horror stories written specifically for young readers. 5 to 95 (Suggested for all readers) Featuring twenty-six terrifying short stories, each based on a different A to Z

Stained by Cheryl Rainfield

High School Sixteen-year-old Sarah Meadows longs for ‘normal.’ Born with a port-wine stain covering half her face, she’s been plagued by stares, giggles, bullying, and disgust all her life. But when she’s abducted on the way home from school, Sarah

Hellworld by Tom Leveen

HAPPY OCTOBER! To celebrate October, here’s a “hell-raising” story to get us in the Halloween mood. Pun intended. High School Five years ago, Abby Booth’s mom, co-host of a ghost-hunting reality show, went missing while filming in a ‘haunted’ cave

Copyright © 2021 Amazing Artists Online – All Rights Reserved

Developed by Clearian