White Canadian city-dwellers–turned–farm kids Cyrus and Rudy are back for a third outing.
The pair is trying to raise money by selling blackberries and dahlias as well as some enormously popular worms a neighbor has provided. Later, many of the same worms cause a funny odor problem in Cyrus’ school locker. Cyrus wants to buy a new bicycle. Maybe it’s that lust for prize money that causes him to make a snap decision to substitute a very robust Mexican grocery-store cucumber for the much-less-impressive one he carefully tended in the garden as his entry in the fair. He is quickly found out and offered “natural consequences” to make up for his cheat and be forgiven. The boys’ next-door neighbor Rachel, who is given to dressing all in one color, is now wearing all black since her beloved grandmother, Cornelia, just died. Rudy has anxiety issues; both the memorial service for Cornelia and starting at a new school are stress-filled. This loving family, however, knows how to work together to help Rudy with his worries. Their calm and wise approach is just one of the winning aspects of this simple, down-to-earth (literally, with all the worms) early chapter book that’s jam-packed with likable, well-realized characters and a compassionate but never didactic message.
A worthy addition to collections for budding readers. (Fiction. 7-9)