MOJO AND THE RUSSIANS
Walter Dean Myers
As in Fast Sam, Cool Clyde, and Stuff (1975), Myers has rounded up a bunch of spunky youngsters, and their snappy dialogue and urban brio tend to cover up the plot improbabilities. Set on New York's West 127th Street near the University, this concerns neighbor Willie's obscure dealings with some Russians in a limousine and the equally strange doings of Drusilla, Willie's woman, a Mojo lady from Louisiana. Dean, who tells the story when Drusilla's not talking to her cat, is especially wary of her Mojo powers--she threatens him when his bicycle hits her on page 2--but his witty pal Kwami and the others (including a white hanger-on from Riverside Drive) all contribute separate shares of mischief and misinformation. They rig up a borrowed intercom set to "subliminal" Willie, and genuinely spook him; then, following Drusilla's chicken-blood rituals, they draw chalk circles around the Russian Consulate--and get hauled off by the police. No tea leaves needed to figure out the resolution, but kids will respond to the vitality, stoop wisdom, and scattered magic.