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Another small story, like Frankie Is Staying Back (1981), that truly confronts a crisis--except that the viewpoint here is that of preteen Mike, rather than his seven-year-old diabetic brother Buddy (but not in such a way as to exclude readers of Buddy's age either). It's a summer Saturday at the Maine shore, and the boys' parents, off to buy antiques, are persuaded d to let pampered Buddy stay home with Mike; after all, everybody knows when he has to eat, give himself an insulin shot, even (Mike's a little embarrassed about this) take his urine test. But Mike, headed for a touch football game, is persuaded in turn to let Buddy stay with his best friend Pete--and then, overstaying his time, arrives home to find Buddy and Pete missing. . . 40 minutes before Buddy is due for his shot. Mike doesn't exactly panic: he's just terrified. And though Roy has recourse to a staple of juvenile fiction to explain the boys' disappearance and add some physical danger (they've stolen off into an oceanside cave to play Indians), Mike's anxiety and guilt remain paramount--threaded through with his growing rapport with Pete's self-possessed sister Loni. In the aftermath, Buddy accepts his share of the blame, and even the boys' parents have some second thoughts. Tightly knit--and finely shaded.

Pub Date: April 19th, 1982
Publisher: Clarion/Houghton Mifflin