________________ CM . . . . Volume VI Number 10 . . . . January 21, 2000

cover The Way to Schenectady.

Richard Scrimger. Illustrated by Linda Hendry.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 1998.
163 pp., pbk., $8.99.
ISBN 0-88776-427-4.

Subject Headings:
Voyages and travels-Juvenile fiction.
Brothers and sisters-Juvenile fiction.
Grandmothers-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 4 - 8 /Ages 9 - 13.
Review by Jennifer L. Branch.

**** /4


As we turned onto the highway that would take us out of the city, Bill lurched sideways and hit his elbow. He started to whimper, very dramatically, and I told him to, well, I told him to shut up. He got angry and leaned forward to boomp me on the head with his fist; I may have accidentally undone my seat belt, turned around, and knelt on my seat in order to boomp him back. Accidentally. And he screamed and started to complain, and I called him a name, and he called me a name, and, before we knew it, Dad had pulled out a bag and started throwing candies around the car. "And do up your seat belt," he told me sternly, with his mouth full of toffee.

"Ouch," said Bill, when the toffee hit him in the nose. I giggled. He bounced out of the seat and bonked me on the back of the head. I screamed. He giggled.

Jane Peeler, her father, her grandmother and her two younger brothers are on their way to the Berkshire Hills near Boston to pick up their mother. It should be like any other ordinary family vacation in a mini-van only this isn't any ordinary family and this will not be just any ordinary vacation. Jane's father is less than organized, Grandma chain smokes and is mean-tempered, and the little brothers behave as only little brothers can (and I know about a little brother). Only a few kilometers out of Toronto, Jane meets a homeless man at a gas station. Marty is trying to get to Schenectady in time for his brother's funeral. Jane decides to hide the homeless man in the back of the van under the suitcases for the two-day trip. It seems like an easy thing to get away with, but Marty is dirty, hungry and snores when he sleeps, which he does during most of the trip.

Jane finds ingenious ways to keep her stowaway a secret but eventually must ask for help from others. How is Jane going to manage to detour her dad to Schenectady, keep their extra passenger hidden, and still make it to Boston in time to see The Music Man performed by the Berkshire Light Opera Tour (BLOT)? The trip will keep young and old readers amused until the final page. The plot is continually humorous with puns on almost every page. Jane is a delightful heroine, and Grandma, surprisingly, comes to the rescue as only Grandmas can. A joy for parents, teachers and children alike.

Highly Recommended.

Jennifer L. Branch is a PhD candidate and Sessional Instructor in the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364