Faced with sudden life changes, a boy blindly rushes into a deserted construction site and falls into a hole.
Danny comes home from school one day to discover that his parents have boxed up all his possessions, given his dog Thwack away and are separating to pursue their artistic dreams. Understandably infected with a “terrible energy” that sends him pelting down the street, he is too distracted to watch his step. As a result, he finds himself at the bottom of a steep-walled pit, with no cellphone service and only the contents of his backpack for supplies. Being generally a levelheaded sort (“His parents always said he was practical, as if it were some kind of defect”), he takes inventory, does his homework, turns a garbage bag into a shelter—and, along with thinking his own thoughts, has some therapeutic interchanges with a chatty mole and a treacherous snake. Rescued the next day, he emerges to what seems a bright, new world, and though his repentant parents have put everything back the way it was, he lets them know that it’s OK to move on. Despite the talking animals, it’s more Robinson Crusoe than Alice in Wonderland, with comical dialogue and occasional cartoon illustrations lightening the emotional load.
A quirky existential adventure for thoughtful readers. (Fantasy. 9-11)