Nominated for the Cybils.
Jack wakes up in his tent at Acadia National Park to find that his mother is gone. At first, he believes she has just gone for supplies, but as the day wears on, he begins to realize that she has run off... again. He is afraid that if he turns himself over to authorities they will permanently separate him from his mother and probably turn him over to his hated grandmother, so he decides to travel to an animal sanctuary in York to visit an elephant. Thinking about elephants is his mental escape from the reality of dealing with a mentally ill mother. He meets a variety of people along the way, scrounges for food, and spends the night sleeping in the L.L. Bean store. Eventually, he must stop running, but what will happen to him when he does?
Strengths: Like The Secret of Rover or The Runaway Twin, the detailed description of life on the run will appeal to many students.
Weaknesses: I couldn't quite believe that Jack wouldn't turn himself in.
***Sigh*** I picked up a really good and funny book that I really can't see myself having on the shelves. Alan Lawrence Sitomer's The Upside of Being Down was really funny, but just go look up the description and the subject headings. If you are an uncle and have preteen and teen nephews, by all means, stock up on this title and hand them out to all and sundry, but it would just be creepy for me to hand it to anyone. And remember, my students can't handle books with the word "boobs" in them, so I don't want people to randomly pick it up, either. This is not banning a book! If students have a public library card, they can have it sent right to school. This is me spending taxpayer money on books that are appropriate for all of my readers.
Will boys love this one? Oh, yeah. Donalyn Miller has a really good discussion of it.