It’s a long way from the Dakota apartment building on Manhattan’s Upper West Side to South Dakota.
June Sparrow is a rich, determined 12-year-old white orphan living in luxury in the famous Dakota building—also home to Yoko Ono. Her constant companion is her pet, a very smart miniature pig with an artistic temperament named Indigo Bunting. June is home-schooled, loves the opera, and travels about the city in cabs. Then suddenly this lifestyle ends when her financial adviser loses her parents’ fortune in a Ponzi scheme. June finds herself in South Dakota with her mother’s sister, whom she has never met. The miniature pig is still her beloved friend, although to her great consternation, pigs are equated with bacon in her new environs. June does not like her aunt and makes only one friend in her new school. Most importantly, June has found her mother’s Penny Book and information about a valuable penny from 1943 that can restore her fortune and send her back to New York City. With incredible single-mindedness, she follows the cryptic clues her mother left. Neither snowstorms nor silos full of corn nor attempted thievery deter her from her mission. There’s a happy-ever-after ending that neatly wraps up every little bit.
Unfortunately, neither June’s escapades nor her pet pig will likely engage readers of this middle-grade Green Acres. (Fiction. 9-12)