P.K. Pinkerton and the Pistol-Packing Widows: P.K. Pinkerton, Book 3
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that P.K. Pinkerton and the Pistol-Packing Widows, the third installment in Caroline Lawrence's profoundly sweet, seriously offbeat Wild West series about an autistic 12-year-old orphan who turns to detection, sheds light on many ongoing mysteries, including the young master of disguise's actual gender. As this book opens, young P.K. is thrown into a gunny sack and abducted. Before the tale ends, several characters come to violent ends, and others have miraculous escapes. One pistol-packing widow, who seems to have ensnared P.K.'s adult friend, is only 23, but her three previous husbands were murdered. One of the Nevada legislators is described as wanting to legalize divorce because his girlfriend's married. But in this crazy environment, complete with cameo appearances by historic figures, "half Lakota but one hundred percent Methodist" P.K. always tries to do the right thing.
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What's the Story?
As P.K. PINKERTON AND THE PISTOL-PACKING WIDOWS opens, the young detective is thrown in a sack and kidnapped by unknown assailants -- only the first of many perils to be encountered in 1862 Nevada. Amid gunplay, "soiled doves," gambling, and natural disaster, P.K. tries to do the right thing -- in this case, keep adult friend Poker Face Jace from falling into the clutches of Violetta de Baskerville, whose husbands have a way of getting killed. Along the way, our hero deals with challenges from autism to puberty and once again receives help and guidance in the strangest of places.
Is It Any Good?
Lawrence loves to bombard readers of this series with a madcap barrage of historic detail, bizarre plot developments, and slapstick, and this may be her most successful outing yet. P.K.'s resolute, deadpan delivery -- and attempts to find the truth in a deceptive world -- make the fast-moving plot even more fun, and history buffs will be in heaven at the lively incidental detail (such as the fact that solferino and magenta were the fashionable shades for ladies' dresses). Many peripheral characters, from P.K.'s partner Ping to new pal Barry, come into their own here.
Adult and kid readers will particularly love the pure clarity of P.K.'s insights. After many disguises, P.K. reflects, "I don't feel like a 'he' or a 'she,' I just feel like a 'me.' But boys have more freedom. And better clothes."
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about historical fiction. Do you think stories such as the P.K. Pinkerton saga are a good way to learn about the past? How can you tell the difference between what's real and what's made up?
Had you ever heard of shorthand before reading this story? Do you think it might be a useful skill, or has technology made it obsolete?
Sam Clemens (Mark Twain) is an ongoing character in this series. Have you read any of his books?
- Author: Caroline Lawrence
- Illustrator: Richard Lawrence
- Genre: Historical Fiction
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
- Publication date: March 6, 2014
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 304
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: July 12, 2017
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