From School Library Journal
Grade 3–6—In this companion novel to No More Nasty
(Farrar, 2001) and No More Nice
(Scholastic, 1996), 12-year-old Parker is stuck on his great-aunt and great-uncle's ramshackle farm for the summer while his parents embark on a trip around the world. He can't get his cell phone, iPod, or computer to work and there isn't even a telephone in the house. Worse yet, Aunt Mattie and Uncle Philbert expect him to help feed the various critters, split wood, and fish. He's never done a chore in his life. When they refuse to sell the farm to make way for an impending interstate, Parker's lack of physical activity and excess of cowardice are put to the test as neighborhood tormentors young and old threaten both him and the farm. Hilarious antics ensue as the boy matures and realizes that there is more to life than the latest video game. Black-and-white line drawings enhance the lighthearted text. Children will treasure the larger-than-life characters, and they may even realize that their dependence on electronics is overrated.—Michele Shaw, Quail Run Elementary School, San Ramon, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Parker, a city slicker and hypochondriac, is conned into spending the summer on some rural time warp called a farm with a bunch of animals and his great-aunt Matilda and great-uncle Philbert. The eccentric relatives don’t believe in modern conveniences, leaving Parker aghast when he realizes they have no Internet, he has lost the batteries for his Game Boy, and there’s no cell-phone service. Whatever will he do with all this time on his hands? How about come of age? During his stay, Parker overcomes his greatest fears: heights and bullies (his biggest bully being himself). Matilda and Philbert are sassy and supportive, recognizing Parker as a young man lacking confidence, a vulnerability that differentiates him from the usual scowling-teenager stereotype. The strong bond formed by Philbert and Parker throughout the story is particularly heartwarming. Smith’s spare line drawings are a nice complement to this simple farm tale. Oh, and FYI: flapdoodle means nonsense, at least according to the glossary of Matilda’s and Philbert’s expressions at the end. And folderol? “See flapdoodle.” Grades 5-8. --Courtney Jones