Norris is a boy kids love to hate—with good reason.
The second of a planned trilogy that explores the same event from the viewpoints of three children in a Nova Scotian village, each in a separate book. This one focuses on Norris, a clever bully who spends his time thinking of ways to dodge around others’ wishes to satisfy his own instead. He’s the son of the town’s largest employer, an arrogant man who’s raising the boy in his own image. Chosen to care for his teacher’s plants while she’s on maternity leave, Norris has accidentally destroyed her prized cactus. He hides the evidence, then schemes to pass the blame. He enlists the reluctant aid of Graeme, a smart boy strongly focused on marine biology, with the implication that Graeme’s father, a lobsterman who has caught a giant lobster, will end up with enough money by auctioning it to Norris’s father that Graeme will be able to visit Big Fish, a major aquarium. During the auction, Norris realizes how his father’s actions are souring the community; he rethinks his own course, but it’s far from clear that he’s reformed—no doubt a believable result. Told from Norris’ unpleasant point of view, it’s all but impossible to warm to his character, even though it’s fairly clear that he walks in his father’s shadow.
A tough but realistic view of the inner workings of a rather nasty boy. (Fiction. 8-11)