Danny Ain't (Scholastic Hardcover)

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9780590450676: Danny Ain't (Scholastic Hardcover)
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Tired of his Vietnam veteran father's moodiness, depression, and violent flashbacks, Danny is determined to make it on his own, and he soon learns a lesson about life's important choices.

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 5-8-- Danny and his father, a Vietnam vet, live in a rat-infested trailer outside San Puerto, California. They have no car, no phone, and very little money. Pop often has flashbacks of the war, and after spending two days in a tree with his rifle, he is taken to a VA hospital by a friend. Danny is left to fend for himself as he tries to keep his father's absence a secret. He learns to get himself invited for meals at friends' homes, and he initiates innovative ways to earn money for food. He feels a special kinship with a pair of coyotes who have taken up residence under the trailer; they seem to be as unwanted and misunderstood as he feels. Cottonwood introduced Danny and several of his soccer teammates in The Adventures of Boone Barnaby (Scholastic, 1990), but this title definitely stands on its own. The plot development is evenly paced, but tends to go on a little long and includes some extraneous incidents that strain credibility. The theme of a resourceful and independent young boy on his own will, nonetheless, be popular with young readers. Overall, it's a finely crafted story. The boy is a survivor, and so, as it turns out, is Pop. The characters are enormously appealing, and although the conclusion is not neatly wrapped up, readers are confident that better days are ahead for Danny. --Marilyn Makowski, Greenwood High School, SC
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews:

When Danny's Pop goes back to the VA hospital with recurrent post-traumatic stress disorder, Danny discovers he's not quite as capable of caring for himself as he'd thought. The author of The Adventures of Boone Barnaby (1990) returns to the small town of San Puerco for another engaging, well-told tale of a young person with choices to make. Boone's friend Danny watches the coyotes who live nearby spurn every gift (rightly fearing poison), yet steal unhesitatingly; he sees the local pusher driving ever-fancier cars; he hears that the visiting soccer team has overwhelmed its opponents with intimidation and foul play. Still, fundamentally decent Danny takes his own path- -doing odd jobs, learning to accept freely offered gifts, spending what money he makes responsibly, and refusing to cheat, either in business (he's a born organizer) or on the playing field. Cottonwood makes his points in both obvious and subtle ways and buoys his story with an idiosyncratic, good-natured cast; with Danny's voracious, vividly described hunger (almost a running gag); and with a soccer game in which the winner is not the team with the highest score. (Fiction. 11-13) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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