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by Anne Ylvisaker

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: April 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7636-5066-7
Publisher: Candlewick

Set in Iowa in 1929, this offbeat tale features plucky, twelve-year-old Tugs Button, who has a meaningful relationship with pie. The Button clan bakes and serves it up whenever there is trouble in the ranks, from accidents to crop failures to illnesses to spousal friction. Poor Tugs has eaten a lot of pie in her life. It seems the Buttons just don’t have any luck. And judging by her buck teeth and her clumsiness, social and otherwise, Tugs is most definitely a Button. Not surprisingly, everyone—not least of all Tugs herself—is fit to be tied when she wins two blue ribbons and a Brownie camera at the town’s Independence Day celebration. And they are further stunned by the mystery she solves with her camera, some good instincts and a little luck. A bit slow-going at first, but if readers persevere, they will warm up to Tugs and enjoy getting to know the people in her circle, including her unlikely, primly-dressed friend Aggie Millhouse, her Granddaddy Ike who gambles his false teeth away and back again, and twins Elmira and Eldora, photograph fanatics and owners of Leopold, a cat as big as a raccoon, who frequents the local library. The main message here is uncomplicated, but important—with a little faith in ourselves and a willingness to take some risks, anything is possible, even a lucky Button. (Historical fiction. 9-12)