6/30/12 ** Young Hoosier Nominee for 2012-13 ** My continuing quest to read all twenty books on the list so I can booktalk them for my 4th graders.
I enjoyed reading about the crunch caused by the gas shortage (i.e. no gas or diesel anywhere on the Eastern Seaboard). I thought that Connor's world showed 2 parts "in it for myself" people and many, many parts "we're in this together" people. The mystery of the missing parts and sense of tension caused by the prolonged absence of the parents makes this a compelling read for any age.
Fourteen year-old Dewey and his older sister, 13 year-old brother, and 5 year-old twin siblings are home alone for a few days while their mom rides along on dad's long-haul truck route for their annual anniversary trip. Little do they know that all the pumps will run dry while they're gone. Meanwhile, the kids are home, coping with all the normal household chores (groceries, laundry, cooking, dishes) AND with the part-time bicycle repair shop that dad has run on the side with Dewey's and Vince's help. Needless to say, the Bike Barn has developed into THE place to be in the family's small town of Rocky Shores. Unfortunately, bike parts seem to be disappearing more rapidly than the repairs warrant. Could the grumpy neighbor really be the thief?
I enjoyed the 'glass half full' mentality of this book. The teens worked hard to maintain a stable environment for the pre-schoolers. They had help from a variety of long-time family friends as well as new-found friends; however, they were quick to circle the wagons to present a 'we can do it' front. While there were a few major setbacks both on the home-front and in the parents' efforts to get home, the kids rose to the challenge nearly every time. Perhaps my only complaint with the book is the too-optimistic view of the fuel crisis, both in the kids' responses and in the general sense of helpfulness of nearly every other character.