Alvin Ho is afraid of many things including, but not limited to elevators, tunnels, bridges, thunder, substitute teachers, scary movies, shots, and school. Most of all...school. Descended from a long line of Chinese farmer-warriors he loves to run around his house as a noisy superhero called Firecracker Man in a costume his gunggung (that's grandfather) made, complete with a spaghetti drainer on his head. School takes too much of his energy so he is only Firecracker Man on weekends and holidays. It takes a lot of energy for Alvin to make it onto the bus and into the school building. Once he is there he can't think, read, smile, sing, or even scream. Worst of all, Alvin can't talk at school. In spite of his mutism, Alvin is determined to make friends with the help of a list of rules suggested by his brother, Calvin.