Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE HOLE IN THE WALL by Lisa Rowe Fraustino


by Lisa Rowe Fraustino

Age Range: 8 - 11

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-57131-696-7
Publisher: Milkweed

Eleven-year-old Sebastian “Sebby” Daniels’s home life is no longer much fun. His Pa has become a layabout drunk. His beloved brother Jed has run away, and his Ma, Grum (grandmother) and perfect twin sister Barbie won’t let Sebby have any fun. He regularly escapes to his hole in the wall, a cave on the edge of a strip mine, where he can set his imagination free. When his mother’s chickens start laying stone eggs and disappearing and the hippie family next door deserts their commune, Sebby and Barbie investigate. All trails lead to the suspicious activities of mine owner Stanley “Boots” Odum. Chickens and people start petrifying, and the investigation becomes a matter of life and death. Winner of this year’s Milkweed Prize for Children’s Literature, Fraustino’s rural fantasy disappoints with a studied false quirkiness and uneven, unlikable characters. The humor relies on aged and at times inappropriate jokes, and the science fantasy is never fully realized. The meandering plot gets a little fizzy near the end but never sparkles the way an award winner should. (Fantasy. 8-11)