Ben and his best friend Jack face a crisis: Jack is moving away. Perhaps the wily pair can invent some way to prevent that?
Ben and Jack live across the street from each other; a speed bump connects their houses and, seemingly, their hearts. When the “for sale” sign appears in Jack’s front yard, its threat seems dire. “Inventors invent inventions,” the two grade-schoolers like to say. So they begin to construct a giant catapult to shoot dead weeds into Jack’s front yard to discourage buyers. If that fails, they can resort to Plans B or C. All of their plans share a common feature, a quality of dreaming and scheming that seems perfectly age appropriate: Not too well thought out, but very imaginative. Taking into consideration the controlled vocabulary of this effort geared toward readers transitioning to chapter books, Ben and Jack exchange a lot of believable dialogue, but neither of their characters is particularly distinguishable from the other. Attractive, cheerful black-and-white full-page illustrations appear every few pages. While having a new friend ever-so-conveniently move into Jack’s house after he leaves seems like a too-easy resolution, everything about this effort is charmingly upbeat.
This easy read only lightly deals with a common childhood issue, and its winsome attitude makes it fun. (Fiction. 6-9)