When his family goes on vacation to visit his grandparents in Iowa, nine-year-old Mikey is continually faced with his fear of drowning.
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Donna Jo Napoli is the author of many books for children and young adults includingThe Magic Circle, Zel, and Stones in Water. She has won numerous awards, including the Golden Kite Award and the Sydney Taylor Award for Stones in Water. She lives in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.
By a gifted author (whose first three children's books range from Soccer Shock, 1991, to a hilarious frog-prince takeoff-- Prince of the Pond, 1992--to the splendidly dark, intricately structured The Magic Circle, 1993), a genial family story that, in its forthright good humor and succinct handling of real issues, recalls Betsy Byars. Mikey, nine, hasn't learned to swim; his natural reluctance to go under water is exacerbated by a history of failure, embarrassment, and an insensitive teacher who literally throws children in. Meanwhile, Napoli portrays the kind of family every child should have: parents who know how to lay down the law cheerfully; four energetic, curious kids whose bickering is just one facet of their mutual affection. In addition to his phobia, the otherwise plucky Mikey is fascinated with weapons, to his mother's consternation (there's a delightful sequence involving rubber bands he gleans around the house and fashions into a slingshot, only to have a younger sib dismember it to sort the bands by color). In the end, with the help of some non-interfering advice from Mamma and Grandma, Mikey faces down his fear. The connection Napoli makes between this and with his preoccupation with guns and knives is almost too direct, but- -since Mikey's family is one where such things are explicitly discussed--it's in a believable context. A funny, easily read story that boys and girls alike should take to like ducks to water. Illustrations not seen. (Fiction. 7-10) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Puffin, 1996. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0140379967