Newly relocated to a run-down seaside farm, brothers (and best friends) Cyrus and Rudy face big changes.
Although Cyrus, 9, and Rudy, 8, have some serious reservations about leaving the city, the move they tried hard to prevent in Not for Sale (2015), there are ample new and interesting aspects of rural life to distract them. Most important of these are their colorful new neighbors, Rachel (who is clothed entirely in a different primary color each day) and her grandparents, and a depressed donkey, Rumpley, that unexpectedly came with the house. For Rudy, some of the fun comes in the form of an old thesaurus that gives him the opportunity to spout amusing synonyms. Cyrus takes the donkey on as his personal project. Rumpley hasn’t enjoyed life since his old master died two years ago, but Cyrus is determined to make up for that. The donkey’s loyal payback eventually plays a critical role in an exciting (if a bit improbable) climax when Cyrus accidentally gets stranded on a rock during a rising tide. Flook’s cartoon illustrations enhance the simple, amusing text that is peopled with warm, engaging characters (all of them apparently white) and a gently nuanced animal relationship. Short chapters and a limited vocabulary make this a fine choice for emerging readers.
A summertime visit to the countryside with people who are fun to share time with. What could be better? (Fiction. 6-10)