THE UNCLE by Margaret Abrams
Kirkus Star


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This is one of those offbeat books, completely unpredictable, which might just catch on. It depends a lot on the spontaneous reaction of early readers. This reader found it utterly enchanting, a beguiling portrait of childhood, captured at a moment when an unforeseen circumstance highlighted each step from small boyhood protection to identification as an individual. Gus was seven -- and to all intents an only child, an ""afterthought"" of parents whose older children were grown. Good natured joking about the Postscript went over Gus' head- until his sister Sally and her husband Wayne arrived for a visit of length, with Tom, their spoiled brat of a son just Gus' age. That Gus was an uncle baffled but did not disturb him until Unk as a nickname became a term of opprobrium. Alternately Tom (out of sight of their contemporaries) was a good companion -- but at other times a hated rival,- for his position at school, or in relation to Gus' parents (Tom's grandparents), or Tom's parents (Gus'sister and brother-in-law). Crisis after crisis occurs, including a bad break between Sally and Wayne, and each is viewed, with natural distortion, by Gus- and handled sensitively, perceptively, but without sentimentality Here is a small town in Texas- a neighboring ranch- a likable family- and a small boy who wins the reader's heart, packaged in a book scarcely longer than Mr. Chips. Watch it.

Publisher: Hougton Mifflin