When this story opens it is time for Riad Sattouf to begin school. He is terrified because he does not speak Arabic, knows no other kids and stands out due to his blonde hair. Some of the kids think he is Jewish because he is blonde but Riad denies this. His Lebanese father is a university professor so the family has some status. Riad meets two kids who become his friends and together they all share a healthy fear of their teacher, a woman who enjoys hitting her students in the hands with a stick.
The story covers one school year, Riad's summer visit to his mother's family in France and the beginning of his second year in school. I think the first book was a little better. It covered his life from birth to age 5. It had more action as the family moved to 5 different countries during this period of time. However, I am interested in reading however many installments to this series that are written. The series gives an interesting perspective of a child with European and Arabic ancestry living in the Middle East.