From Norvelt to Nowhere
Written by Jack Gantos
Get ready for more antics from that Gantos boy, hero to fourth grade boys and girls everywhere. From his Halloween costume that looks like the local serial killer to digging a fallout shelter right into his family’s septic tank, Jack’s misadventures are memorable and hilarious. Miss Volker, Jack’s best friend, becomes the last old lady in Norvelt, courtesy of a series of poisoned Girl Scout cookies. Then Eleanor Roosevelt dies and Jack’s cross country adventure begins. Jack escorts Miss Volker to Mrs. Roosevelt’s grave. They get word of her sister’s death in Florida. With detectives and killers alike following them, they take a zig-zag course in various vehicles, including a hand-painted VW Beetle, a hearse, an amphibious vehicle, and a police motorcycle with a side car. They take a train to Washington, DC and buy a beetle at a Foggy Bottom used car lot. Jack, at age fourteen, drives them to Tennessee and to Florida, with Miss Volker warming her hands in everything from split pea soup to a bucket of coals in the car. Although Jack tends to get all his literary information from Illustrated Classics, there is enough about Moby Dick and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to make the references interesting and informative, and to encourage further literary activity. The historical references are also sneakily educational and funny.
The publisher’s website, mackids.com, has a lot of information about the author and his books. The author’s website, http://www.jackgantos.com/, is a good companion guide.
- TITLE: From Norvelt to Nowhere
- AUTHOR: Jack Gantos
- PUBLISHER: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2013
- REVIEWER: Sue Poduska
- ISBN: 978-0-374-37994-0
- FORMAT: Hard cover, 278 pages
- GENRE: Historical Fiction, Humor, History