SCOOTER by Vera B. Williams


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 7 - 11
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In a narrative akin, in its liveliness and immediacy, to Williams's Stringbean's Trip to the Shining Sea (1988), Elana Rose Rosen describes her first "2 months + 1 week or 9 weeks + 6 days or...5,961,600 seconds" in Melon Hill, an urban complex where she and her mom share one-room apartment 8E. From the first day ("I don't know any of those kids...I'm not moping") to the Labor Day celebration when Elana and the kids she's gotten to know--plus her best friend/cousin, visiting from Toronto--shine in their individual ways, Williams builds a sense of a particular community with every casual-seeming detail. Many of these relate to little Petey, who has selfish, inept parents and has never spoken until he whispers an important message to Elana; to old Mrs. Greiner ("the Whiner"), who turns out to be lovable as well as capable; and to Elana's hard-working mom, who goes to school and holds down a job. The rough marginal illustrations, while credibly childlike, deftly capture both character and action; with creative dexterity, Williams also varies the format with lists, charts ("Diagram of the Zig Zag Day" of trials and triumphs), healthful recipes (a soup from leftovers could be adapted to any refrigerator's contents), and succinct themes built on initials from chapter titles ("Petey": "Petey doesn't/Ever/Talk/Even when he wants to--/Y?"). Disarming in its apparent simplicity, an upbeat, innovative, delightfully engaging, and beautifully crafted first novel about everyday life in the inner city. (Fiction. 7-11)
Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-688-09376-0
Page count: 150pp
Publisher: Greenwillow
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1993


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