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Mary Sue Preissner (Children's Literature)
Once again, an adolescent is having trying times. Vernon is having difficulties in school. He doesn't want to cause his dad any grief, but he wants to fit in with the rest of the guys. This is a tall order for a preteen. He strikes a balance in hanging with the guys, keeping his grades up, and doing selfless acts of kindness. Vernon's internal emotions, needs and desires combine with the story of a community, long ignored, coming together. There are some powerful issues in this book --alcohol abuse, mental retardation, foster homes, community service--all things that today's adolescents need to be aware of. Newbery Honor Book. 1993, HarperCollins, $13.89 and $3.95. Ages 10 up.
Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, 1993)
Vernon Dibbs is finding junior high tough. The grades that come so easily to others elude him, despite earnest struggles and extra hours of study; he feels he lost the one person who considered him in any way special when his mother suddenly passed away two years ago. Then acquaintance with alcoholic Maxine and her retarded son Ronald leads to some tutoring work, and soon he is also involved in a money-making scheme to send Ronald to the Special Olympics; the solutions to Vernon's problems seem to be within his grasp, and his confidence soars. If the lesson that kindness begets kindness needs to be repeated, this book is all heart; its bittersweet best moment comes when Maxine, aware of her limitations, parts with Ronald so that he can receive better care. A quiet, winning story of a boy and his community making small gains through large efforts. 1993, HarperCollins, $13.00; PLB $12.89. © 1993 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.
Roger Sutton (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, July/August 1993 (Vol. 46, No. 11))
The "Crazy Lady" of the title is narrator Vernon's raucous alcoholic neighbor Maxine, who curses the taunting neighborhood kids as she walks down the street with her retarded son Ronald. Prompted-pushed-by another neighbor, Miss Annie, who's been tutoring him in reading and grammar, Vernon takes an interest in Maxine and Ronald, cleaning their yard and watching out for Ronald so Maxine can go get food stamps. It becomes an unlikely but entirely convincing friendship. Drunk, Maxine is venomous and desperate; sober, she's a pretty good mother and not a bad friend: it was she who sent Vernon to Miss Annie in the first place. In its tone and atmosphere, the book is somewhat reminiscent of Spinelli's Maniac Magee, set in a rotting urban landscape where respect, loyalty, and family bonds nevertheless manage to thrive. While a heartwarmer, the story is never sentimental and comes by its emotional effects honestly. Maxine does not reform; in fact, her bravest act comes at the end when she sends Ronald to live with some relatives in the country. Vernon's narration, unfolded in retrospect two years after Ronald has gone, is fast and blunt, and the conversations are lively and true. He'll make kids care about Ronald and Maxine almost as much as they'll care about him. R--Recommended. (c) Copyright 1993, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 1993, Geringer/HarperCollins, 180p, $12.89 and $13.00. Grades 5-8.
|Language||Call Number||LCCN||Dewey Decimal||ISBN/ISSN|
|English (eng)||PZ7.C761846 Cr 1993
0060213574 : $13.00 ($17.50 Can.)|
0060213604 (lib. bdg.)