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HIPPOMOBILE! by Jeff Tapia Kirkus Star


by Jeff Tapia

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: Oct. 8th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-547-99548-9
Publisher: Clarion

The town of Wymore is dying, and it’s not just because the majority of its 51 residents are “all old and have either gray hair or no hair at all.”

During the summer months, when their parents are working long hours out of town, twins Jimmy and Stella are watched over by 47 grandparents, none of whom are related to them by blood. The twins eat their meals at Mabel’s cafe, sleep in the local hotel, spend time in their special tree and try hard to memorize all the presidents of the United States. When Mabel admits to them that she can’t afford to keep the cafe open any longer, they put their eager brains to the problem of saving Mabel’s and, subsequently, the town. How? By resurrecting a glorious vehicle invented by a previous, mysterious town inhabitant. In his first book for a young audience, Tapia (Deep Tissue, 2012) shows remarkable ownership of language that his readers will find both hilarious and wise. Peppering the pitch-perfect description and dialogue are phrases like “Stella scraped her prayer bones” and “the biggest linguisters,” and for readers who can’t figure out what those mean, Tapia provides plenty of footnotes. The relationships between the young and old, the townspeople and the town are endearing and enduring.

A rousing adventure with double the heart. (Adventure. 8-12)