THE DRAGON IN THE GHETTO CAPER by E.L. Konigsburg

THE DRAGON IN THE GHETTO CAPER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An eleven-year-old aspiring detective seeking a sidekick who will "yes, boss" him takes up with a lonely young housewife in his upper-income suburb, and even if you can credit a kid like Andy being so interested in Edie Yakots' self-preoccupied prattle and her frequent references to "Harry--that's my husband" that he visits her daily after school, you still might question how many others his age will want to read about her. On looking back, the weakest link in The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler was Mrs. F. herself; here, unfortunately, the "crazy lady" is central and what's worse she is 29 and less eccentric than "spacy flaky"--making The Dragon annoyingly trendy whereas The Mixed-Up Files in 1967 was refreshingly contemporary in its depiction of suburban kids. In truth, Edie really craves acceptance from the local garden clubbers; and aside from her habit of talking as if she'd been "born without conjunctions," her chief quirks are a fondness for dragons (Andy draws nothing else) and a desire to confront them that sets her to driving a numbers racket bag woman on her Thursday rounds through the ghetto. It is on these weekly jaunts that Andy, who believes Sister Henderson is collecting for her church (though readers catch on way ahead of him), gets what he thinks is his chance to apprehend some crooks. Crushingly, it's Edie's fast thinking that rescues him from their ambush, and later, attempting to return the favor, Andy makes an even bigger fool of himself when the robbers turn out to be police detectives. In a eureka ending typical of juvenile novels Andy realizes what Edie had been trying to teach him about dragons--but as if that didn't put her far enough ahead she announces on the last page that she's pregnant. Presumably, now she won't have to spend her energies flirting with ghetto dragons--though Konigsburg seems unaware to the end that Edie's caper (it used to be called slumming) is as distasteful as her all-round aid to Andy is deflating.
Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 1974
ISBN: 0689823282
Page count: 132pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1974




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