From School Library Journal
Grade 4-6-Booker Jones, 12, aspiring author, has just completed his 22nd manuscript, Space Cows. He hopes to follow in his journalist grandfather's footsteps. But ever since Pop broke his hip and moved into Booker's room, he's been uncommunicative. The boy loses himself in his writing, trying to forget about his family problems and his failure to conquer long division. When the PTO organizes a rally to change the school mascot from the Wolf Pack to the Fighting Pickles, Booker is asked to give a convincing speech to prevent the change. For once, though, he suffers from writer's block. At the same time, he comes to realize that Pop will be staying with them permanently. On his way to the rally he has an inspiration; his speech is a rousing tongue-in-cheek success and is published in the local newspaper. Booker shares the joy of being published (finally!) with Pop; the elderly man only blinks in response, yet he is clearly pleased. This lighthearted story is well paced. Characterizations are well established considering the novel's brevity. Without even speaking, Pop is a dominant secondary character-the person from whom Booker draws his strength. Similar in plot to Betsy Byars's The Two-Thousand-Pound Goldfish (HarperCollins, 1982), this quick read would also make a good classroom read-aloud.Bonnie L. Raasch, C.B. Vernon Middle School, Marion, IA
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 5^-7. Forced to give up his room to his ailing grandfather, fledgling sf writer Booker Jones is living under the dining room table, a situation that seems to be affecting him strangely. Never mind that he is convinced his father has turned into a coffee cup, Booker's real problem is the writer's block that is keeping him from completing his work-in-progress, Space Cows
, and delaying his dream of becoming a published author. His dream is finally realized, but not because of a science fiction masterpiece. Rather, it's fulfilled because of a deeply moving speech he delivers at, of all places, the Pickle Springs Middle School rally. Booker is not exactly your average 12-year-old, but his dilemmas, which range from a bratty big sister to long division problems, are common ones. The tender scenes between lovable Booker and his invalid grandfather are especially effective. Lauren Peterson