A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that On the Road to Mr. Mineo's is long on leisurely Southern small-town atmosphere, which may not suit impatient young readers. But the adventures of Sherman the runaway one-legged pigeon, which involve being pursued by kids who want to make him a pet as well as cats who want to make him a meal, have a lot of charm and appeal. And many kids will appreciate young Stella's difficulties with her obnoxious older brother, not to mention parents who won't let her have a dog.
What's the story?
Mr. Mineo, who lives in a rusted trailer by the lake in sleepy Meadville, SC, and runs the local bait shop, took in his brother's homing pigeons when the brother went to live in a nursing home. Everything's fine until one day Sherman, a one-legged bird who's a bit full of himself, doesn't come home from the daily flight. Before the tale winds to its happy conclusion, Sherman and his new friend, the little brown dog, are being pursued not just by Mr. Mineo but also by assorted kids and adults determined to capture the bird -- not to mention some hungry cats bent on having pigeon for lunch.
Is it any good?
The leisurely, repetitious pacing of the narrative lends itself to being read aloud and serves to keep young readers well grounded in the story, but may be too slow for those who prefer fast action. The plight of some of the characters -- Stella, who's given up hope of persuading her parents to let her have a dog, but now dreams of capturing Sherman; her wimpy friend Gerald, frequent recipient of the Knuckle of Death from Stella's brother Levi and his gang of bullies; Mutt, from the wrong side of the tracks, who's got such a reputation as a liar that no one believes him when he tells the truth -- will strike a sympathetic chord with many kids.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why stories about kids and animals are so appealing. What do you think makes a good animal story? What are your favorite books or movies featuring animals or birds?
Stella and Gerald have a lot of trouble with bullying and taunting from Stella's older brother and his friends. Have you had this experience? How did you deal with it?
How does Sherman's adventure wind up making things better for just about all the characters in the story?
- Author: Barbara O'Connor
- Genre: Animals
- Topics: Brothers and sisters, Cats, dogs, and mice, Friendship, Misfits and underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
- Publication date: October 2, 2012
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 192
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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