RUNAWAY RAFT by Ruth Harnden


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A madman of a worrywart""; that's what Alec calls Bart when the younger brother first imagines that his new paper route customers are dissatisfied. Bart secretly hopes to build a raft but he couldn't tell someone like insensitive, untroubled Alec and he suspects their parents would veto the plan. Then there are minor problems on the route -- a mean hulk of a kid at the first house, a bunch of cats at a second, a hostile-looking dog at another. Miss Matty (of the goodhearted cat house) knows a troubled kid when she sees one, gains his trust through uncalculating (but not unmeditating) warmth; she also agrees to help with that raft. . .and mentions the lonely kid down the road. Being rude to Alec's girl brings a charge of self-righteousness which Bart discredits until Bill (house #1) accuses him of arrogance. Unbrotherly love, wrong first impressions, recognition of a difference in character judgments -- several components work together with studied rather than taut precision. The raft is a runaway because of Bill's clumsiness, the rescue effected because of his quick thinging: in between drifting Bart does some turning-point thinking on his own. The introspection game with no time-out for action.

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 1968
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin