After previous family vacations highlighted by encounters with alligators, revolutionaries and natural disasters (see Travels With My Family, 2006, for details) a “stay-cation” at home in Montreal sounds a trifle boring to Charlie.
Not so, as it turns out—though most of the misadventures are a bit less hair-raising than before. True, a major storm does strand Charlie and his father in a stretch of sunken highway, and later on, he and his troublesome little brother Max take the wrong bus on a trip to the country. Still, most of the experiences during his post–sixth-grade summer run along the lines of agreeing to babysit a neighbor’s goldfish (with the inevitable result), discovering the perils of walking several dogs at once and sharing a backyard campsite with a skunk. It's all agreeably capped by a surprise multigenerational birthday party in the nearby alley. Charlie relates his experiences in a bemused, almost self-deprecatory tone, and Gay’s frequent fine-lined, loosely drawn illustrations mark all the high and low spots.
An upbeat summer idyll likely to draw chuckles whether read alone or aloud. (Fiction. 10-12)