A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that there's not much to be be concerned with here, beyond a bit of mild swearing and some minor scuffling. The main character, age 9, is dealing with the death of his mother a year earlier.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
David's mother died almost a year ago, and his father is burying his grief in work. So David, 9, lives with his grandmother, and takes out all of his anger and pain on her. Primrose, 13, never knew her father, and her mother is so distant that Primrose has moved into a van in the backyard. David meets Primrose while she is pretending to be dead at an Easter egg hunt, and the two begin sneaking out at night, roaming the town looking for trash to sell. As these two angry, hurting children squabble and connect, both find something in the other that allows them to begin to heal.
Is it any good?
There's a surreal magic to the scenes where David and Primrose are abroad together in the night, almost as if they have entered another world. By flashlight and moonlight they explore their town, searching for trash or night crawlers, hanging out with a kindly junkman, constantly bickering, but learning more and more about each other. Spinelli has a keen eye for character and motivation, and even though from the outside the kids' behavior would seem bizarre, as Spinelli takes readers inside, their actions start to seem not just understandable -- but familiar.
The central metaphor, which recurs again and again in ways both obvious and subtle, will give discussion groups lots to talk about. So will the difficult and complicated relationships here: the central one between David and Primrose, of course, but also between the children and the adults in their lives. By turns moving, magical, and startlingly original, this story gives readers plenty to chew on.