After a half block, Mom asks how the tour of the school was. August refuses to talk until they get home. When they arrive, he races to his room and throws himself on his bed. He feels both sad and happy and snuggles his dog, Daisy, when she comes to join him. Mom nudges Daisy over and asks if the kids were nice. August says they were fine.
August's conflicting emotions here point to his budding adolescence. August’s dog, Daisy, is a significant character because she is always kind to him. By emphasizing Daisy’s sweet and loving disposition, the novel reinforces that kindness doesn’t come as easily for humans—it takes a lot of work and concentrated effort to always be kind and loving to other people.
When Mom says that Julian seemed especially nice, August corrects her and says that Julian was the least nice. He tells Mom how Julian asked what “the deal” was with his face and asked if August was in a fire. Mom looks shocked. August tells her that both Jack and Charlotte stood up for him, but Mom apologizes and tells August that he doesn't have to go to school. August tells her that he wants to go.
Mom's belief that Julian was extra nice reinforces the idea that parents and teachers often don't know the entire story. Similarly, Mr. Tushman presumably asked Julian to be a part of the welcoming committee because he thought highly of him. In contrast, Jack explicitly told August that Julian is a jerk, suggesting that Julian isn’t particularly warm or kind among his peers but can appear that way for adults.