Kirkus Star


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Robby's fourth-grade teacher's conventional concern about his parents' division of labor (Dad takes care of the two-year-old twins while Mom, an artist, holds down a job)--and about the fact that Robby reads all the time, even at recess--prompts her to send him to Mrs. Van Gent, the school counselor. When a classmate who has also been talking to Mrs. Van Gent is suddenly put in foster care, Robby's anxieties are aroused: because Dad prefers playing with his children to picking up, their house is a shambles; stressed by the pranks of the lively twins, Robby's parents--though they are clearly loving partners--sometimes disagree or exchange sharp words. Meanwhile, as a PTA fund-raiser, Dad has contracted to serve a gourmet meal, and the highest bidder is Mrs. Van Gent, who accidentally arrives a week early and finds the family in its usual happy disarray. Crew (the well-received Children of the River, 1989) tells an entertaining story about a thoughtful kid with real fears engendered by misunderstandings so believable that the reader isn't altogether sure that a miscarriage of justice may not occur. She also expertly enriches her story with other themes: environmental concerns and hard times in the logging industry in the Pacific Northwest; getting along with a humorless teacher; and, especially, the complex give and take in a family of spirited individuals. Unusually worthwhile and appealing. Robinson's deft drawings are low-key but perceptive.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1991
ISBN: 037589506X
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Delacorte