Books by David Winkler

THE RETURN OF CALICO BRIGHT by David Winkler
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Sept. 15, 2003

Callie's bildungsroman takes her from high-school concerns, through adventure and danger, to political understanding. A high-schooler concerned that she weighs too much to attract athlete Jeff, Callie's only comforts are the journals of Calico Bright, her bear-wrangling, Injun-killing great-great-great-great-grandmother. When Callie's best friend Jakeeta foils a gas station robbery, the girls are thrust into the spotlight and Callie into Jeff's arms. Jeff's attentions drive an inexplicable rift between Callie and Jakeeta. When Jeff leaves Callie, she suspects Jakeeta, and turns to the journals of Calico Bright for comfort. But wait—the journals appear to be fiction, created by Callie's mother. And when Callie confronts her mother, she finds her in the arms of co-worker—a revelation that leads to Callie's parents' immediate separation. Desperate to escape, the suddenly fit Callie goes on a social-studies camping trip with poor classmate Trotter, a journey that leads to confrontations with anti-government white supremacists. Some quite good stories here, but too many plot lines, several unresolved. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >
SCOTTY AND THE GYPSY BANDIT by David Winkler
Released: March 27, 2000

Winkler's debut for children is an offbeat, darkly humorous tale that takes a preteen from the death of his father to a healing round of Thanksgiving deliveries to local children's shelters, with murder, romance, adolescent pranks, and plenty of growing up in between. Scotty narrates, but the plot revolves around both his mother's recovery from grief, and his classmate Mick Stewart. Mick compensates for an abusive father and an alcoholic mother with a rich fantasy life in which he, as "The Gypsy Bandit," performs deeds of derring-do with the help of imaginary friend Reese and reluctant but real friend, Scotty, dubbed "Durango." Already a focus of attention at school because of the death in his family, Scotty becomes downright notorious when Mick disappears, leaving the brutal Mr. Stewart bludgeoned to death and buried in the backyard. While worrying about his friend, and being hard as can be on his mother once she begins seeing a local shoe store owner (who becomes much more intriguing stepfather-material after Scotty finds out that he used to be a circus clown), Scotty also finally breaks the ice with longtime crush, Lynette. A sudden impulse of his mother's ends the story with a stitched-on but heartwarming set piece. Overall, it's patchwork storytelling, but the tone is reminiscent of that found in Jack Gantos's autobiographical novels (Jack on the Tracks, 1999, etc.), and the cast is enjoyably quirky. (Fiction. 11-14) Read full book review >