Reviews (3.6 stars)
What’s it about?
Simon’s spoiled cousin Parker decides he’d rather spend the summer with his flakey Great Aunt and Uncle than at some dumb computer camp.But once he gets there he discovers he can’t get any of his favorite toys to work: he’s in a cell phone, video-game, Internet black hole. Meanwhile someone is mysteriously trying to force his Great Uncle Philbert to sell his farm, and things start to get very nasty.
What have reviewers said?
“Children will treasure the larger-than-life characters, and they may even realize that their dependence on electronics is overrated.”—School Library Journal
“A read-aloud treat.” —Kirkus Reviews
From School Library Journal
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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