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by Margaret Wild & illustrated by Gregory Rogers

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: April 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-590-45598-2
Publisher: Scholastic

 A gifted Australian writer (The Very Best of Friends, 1990) takes a deceptively simple look at a mother and son living in a ``rocket'' (an airy metal construction) in a city park. They aren't comfortable--the quarters are cramped and drafty, and the food they share with the other homeless is no feast, though they think of it as one--but Mandy and Zac keep their spirits up by imagining where the rocket could take them. In the end, Mandy finds a room with friends, with hopes of a job for her and school for Zac; their dazed friend Dorothy happily moves into the rocket, though winter is coming on. Wild tells her story expertly, while Rogers's soft color-pencil art, muted with shadows, shows these people as vibrantly interrelated and dimensional--unlike the homeless in Bunting's Fly Away Home (1991). The social-issue subtext here is subtly hidden in the details; the focus is on the humanity of Zac and his mother. Unrealistically upbeat, perhaps, but a good departure point for discussion. (Picture book. 5-9)