Saturday, July 2, 2011

Least Angst in Post-Apocalypse Story: Crunch

Crunch By Leslie ConnorThe next Cybils Middle Grade Novel finalist is Crunch by Leslie Connor, which reads like a standard family story (a good one too) but is actually a near-future post-apocalypse book.  The book depends on the idea that the world runs out of gas for a while, which traps the parents away from the kids and makes their bike shop a more prominent destination for their neighbors.  Technically this is science fiction.

Dewey, the oldest boy of five children, helps his dad run their bike-repair shop, a very part time operation.  He and his older sister were holding down the fort for a few days while their parents took a short vacation, but with the disappearance of gas, they have to run things a little longer.  They aren't as quirky as the Penderwick sisters, but then they don't have to be since they already live on a farm chock-full of quirky goats, chickens, and abstract art.  The story follows the bike shop and the worries of the kids as they handle stuff while their parents try to get home. I loved how the family cherished each other, even as they argued or got on each other's nerves.  The three older kids had distinct personalities, as did the more minor pre-kindergarten twins and the assorted neighbors that interact with the family.   It's a great book for a biking family, as the people with bikes clearly have an advantage after the cars stop rolling.  I think I'll make a list of family books where the kids take care of each other, rather than follow the television pattern of cutting each other down at every opportunity.

I think my kids would enjoy it, and my main frustration was the indistinct setting -- I can't place their state so I don't know if it would have helped me with my struggling 50 state challenge.  Humph. I'm definitely putting Connor's other books on my TBR list, though.

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