A story of adventure and survival set in a fantastical place It features a wonderful blend of strong family relationships, sharp dialogue and high-stakes, taut action This novel will delight Gennifer Choldenko's existing fans as well as garner her many more
Gennifer Choldenko is the Newbery-Honor-winning and Carnegie-Medal-shortlisted author of Al Capone Does My Shirts and Al Capone Shines My Shoes. Gennifer lives in San Francisco, USA.
Gr 5-7-When their mom loses their house to foreclosure, India, Finn, and Mouse must move in with a relative in Colorado. The journey turns peculiar when the kids' flight lands in a strange location where cell phones don't work and they are cut off from the normal world. In a feather-covered cab with a child driver, they enter Falling Bird, a Coraline-like alternate reality where things seem better than the place they left behind, but where something indefinably sinister lurks beneath the surface. And the citizens seem determined to keep the siblings there, with false promises of an easy existence and the lure of a "dream house." But when their dream houses literally break apart, the kids are thrust again into a homeless existence that mirrors their real-world limbo. The story is fast-moving and entertaining, but it's hard to figure out the significance of the many devices: there's a white cat, a black box, some puzzle pieces, clocks that count backwards, and a magic phone that knows their intentions. It's all a bit confusing, but, if readers don't sweat the details, it's a fun ride, full of adventure, suspense, and good characterization. Brainy little Mouse is aptly described as "like Einstein on a sugar high," and self-centered, desperate-for-approval India taps into her inner power by the end of the tale and comes through for her siblings. An additional purchase, for readers who like clues and adventure, and aren't daunted by a puzzling ending.-Emma Burkhart, Springside School, Philadelphia, PA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
'This sequel is ingenious ... The terrific storytelling, which adds suspense and dread to the humour and poignancy of the first book, is underpinned by the author's own memories of her autistic sister and her diligent research into the history of the inhabitants of Alcatraz' The Times 'Gripped me with suspense and excitement ... fabulous!' Communication - The National Autistic Society 'A witty and engaging sequel to Al Capone Does My Shirts, this story is a real treat' TBK Magazine 'Cleverly constructed and compulsively readable, this excellent novel deserves a wide readership' Books for Keeps
Best known for her Newbery Honor-winning historical fiction, Choldenko (Al Capone Does My Shirts) forays into high-concept fantasy with mixed results. Having lost the family home to foreclosure, the widowed schoolteacher mother of three-India, Finn, and Mouse Tompkins-puts them on a plane to Denver to live with an uncle while she finishes out the academic year in California. After some turbulence, the plane lands, but what follows is a hallucinatory journey, which unfolds in alternating first-person chapters narrated by each sibling. The trio is given a rock star welcome by the residents of a city called Falling Bird, chauffeured in a pink, feathered taxi by a 12-year-old, and offered dream homes and-except for six-year-old Mouse-jobs. They sense something's amiss, and after some soul-searching, especially by angry teen India, the children realize all they want is to reach their uncle's place. The revelation of what really happened doesn't quite square with a narrative told in three voices, but Choldenko's pacing is sure and her use of airport argot (white courtesy phones, a missing black box) adds an inventive element to this story of unlikely survival. Ages 10-up. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.