WHAT THE DICKENS! by Jane Louise Curry


Age Range: 9 - 12
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 During Charles Dickens's 1842 US journey, Cherry Dobbs, 11, overhears thieves planning to steal the manuscript of his latest book in order to print a pirated edition. She sets out to foil them, and there's a rapid-fire chase conducted mostly on the Dobbs family's freighter and other boats on Pennsylvania's Juniata Canal. After the illiterate malefactors steal the wrong book, they manage to imprison spunky Cherry and her twin, Sam, and then to rectify their mistake. Their triumph is short-lived: the twins escape, follow on a showboat, expose the thieves, and recover the book; riding a swift new packet and then a train over the Alleghenies, the kids are once again apprehended by the now- escaped thieves before Cherry cleverly saves the manuscript and they finally return it to its author. Some of the to-ing and fro-ing can be confusing, and the folks who make their living plying the canal in barges and other horse-drawn craft are a little romanticized; but the various forms of transportation are worked into the rip-roaring adventure without too much ostentation, effectively bringing to life an interesting piece of social history. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 1991
ISBN: 0-689-50524-8
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: McElderry
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 1991


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