Sunday, July 3, 2011

Luck of the Buttons, by Anne Ylvisaker (fiction) - small-town mystery, big excitement in 1920s

Independence Day!
Pie-eating contests!
Patriotic essay competitions!
Three-legged races!

Is bad luck something you're born with or something that you can rise above? Are bullies part of every school and neighborhood? Does the world look different when seen through your camera's lens?

This is a great summer story as Tugs investigates a mystery that the grown-ups in town just can't seem to see. Wishing you plenty of pie, family, and fireworks this holiday weekend!
**kmm

Book info: The Luck of the Buttons / Anne Ylvisaker. Candlewick, 2011 [author's website] [publisher site]

Recommendation: Tugs is good at reading and good at running, which keeps her ahead of the Rowdies gang in their small Iowa town in 1929. Independence Day is next week, so she writes a patriotic essay, like every other 12 year old in town, and practices with Aggie for the 3-legged race. Thank goodness, she doesn’t have to run with her short, tubby cousin Ned this year. And she has some tickets for the raffle of a Brownie camera, too! Of course, no one in the Button family is lucky at all, so she’s not getting her hopes up about anything.

Uh-oh, it’s time to worry when Mama has a pie ready for lunch (Buttons always have pie when something bad happens). Granny is moving in, taking her bedroom! Well, at least Tugs can escape to the cool quiet of the library, browsing through the dictionary and reading old newspapers. This newcomer Harvey Moore is so busy collecting money to start a newspaper in Goodhue that he isn’t really starting it at all, so Tugs starts investigating.

On the fourth of July, it’s time for the 3-legged race, the raffle drawing, and the essay contest announcement. Will it be time for pie at the Button family table again? Can Tugs stay ahead of the Rowdies? Does the world look different through a camera lens? And how did Tugs get her first name anyway?

The summer of 1929, surrounded by cornfields and caring, is a great place to be with Tugs and her pie-baking family, as she wonders about luck and persistence in this easy-reading story. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy courtesy of the publisher.

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