Age Range: 10 - 14
Email this review


The Puddlejumpers—11-inch-tall creatures—are fighting the Trogs, huge troll-like monsters, but they need to borrow a human Rainmaker to succeed. They choose Shawn Frazier, whose mother died giving birth to him, kidnapping him and raising him to fulfill his destiny. Meanwhile, young Ernie Banks (who uses the name of the famous Cubs shortstop) struggles to grow up in an urban orphanage, where compliance-minded supervisor Mrs. McGinty disapproves of both his love of baseball and his independent streak. Their separate worlds mesh in a surprising climax on the farm run by Shawn’s bereaved father, where the tale’s mythic elements meet oil and machinery. It’s an altogether engaging blend of fantasy and reality, but the mingling of two characters’ blood in a bonding ritual seriously mars the whole. It’s unfortunate that the plot logic depends so heavily on this rather hackneyed trope, as modern-day kids may well find themselves distracted by the notion of the commingling of blood rather than focusing on the true bonding of their partnership. Fatally flawed fun. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 15th, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4231-0759-0
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Hyperion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2008