Twins Mikey and Jake and their baby sister, Sally, move to the country from the city, with interesting results, in this middle-grade tale touched lightly with fantasy.
Mikey narrates, except for the chapters in which the sheep, the lizards and Emma the rescue dog tell part of the story. Mikey is not at all sure this country business is worth it: no email, no corner store, no dishwasher. “When you don’t want to be someplace, it takes a lot of time to be there.” He talks a lot about missing his cool friend, Justin, and what he might tell him about this strange new life. When a snake turns up, it is Mikey who gets to choose Emma, an Old English sheepdog rescued from a puppy mill, to keep it away. She does, too, and although she is hopeless at the neighbor’s sheep, she does rescue Sally from a muddy drowning. The boys’ plan to get the sheep to mow their lawn is told both from their point of view and that of the sheep, and it is pretty hilarious, especially when both sheep get locked in the car sitting on the horn (don’t ask). Mikey’s efforts at winkling out what his parents mean, exactly, are very much on target, and seeing how adult actions look to the boys is amusing and sometimes wise.
Readers who might be miffed at the anti-city, anti-computer bias will be much mollified by hearing the animals’ conversations, which make it all worthwhile. (Fiction. 8-11)