Scoop of the e-e-evening: Crunch

From the publisher:

Dewey Marriss is stuck in the middle of a crunch. He never guessed that the gas pumps would run dry the same week he promised to manage the family's bicycle-repair business. Suddenly everyone needs a bike. And nobody wants to wait.

Meanwhile, the crunch has stranded Dewey's parents far up north with an empty fuel tank and no way home. It's up to Dewey and his older sister, Lil, to look after their younger siblings and run the bike shop all on their own.

Each day Dewey and his siblings feel their parents' absence mor
e and more. The Marriss Bike Barn is busier than ever. And just when he is starting to feel crunched himself, Dewey discovers that bike parts are missing from the shop. He's sure he knows who's responsible—or does he? Will exposing the thief only make more trouble for Dewey and his siblings?

Caleb, age 12
It was a very good book. There were lots of right-brainers in it, like Vince, who was creative with bikes and could take them apart and put them back together. I liked Boss Man (Dewey) too. He was cool. Before the crunch began, their parents were up north; then, all the pumps ran dry in North America, and everyone was stuck. Only bikers could get around, or if you had really long legs, you could walk. Their parents called every night to see how everything went that day.

Adeline, age 9
Lil, the oldest, didn't like adults helping them, so when Dewey's friend Robert came, she did not want him. She thought he was taking care of them. Sometimes he brought them bagels, which was a food they couldn't eat very much because of the crunch.
Henry, age 5
People were coming, there were lines to the end of the driveway, they were waiting to get their bikes fixed. Then the kids had a great big bike party and taught them how to fix their bikes. After a while, their mom and dad came home.

Waiting for Normal may have gotten lots of attention, but it didn't impress me; I'm glad I took a chance with Connor's next novel, though. After I read Crunch, I knew the kids would love it as a real-aloud. And they did. They empathized with each of the siblings, from the 5 year old twins to their biggest sister, Lil. The humor was perfect; jokes that had me rolling my eyes had them rolling with laughter. The plot was simple, but not uncomplicated, in a very true-to-life way.

However, reading it the second time, I was quite irritated by the language. Crunch's reading level is grade 5 and up, and the story appeals to even younger audiences, as mentioned above; yet there are uses of hell, oh my god, damn, even god-damn, by the older, stressed-out siblings. Since I was reading out loud, I could easily skip over the words, but handing the novel to a patron in the target audience's age group would trouble me.

No comments: