CM . . .
. Volume XXIII Number 39. . . .June 16, 2017
Knock About With the Fitzgerald-Trouts.
Esta Spalding. Illustrated by Sydney Smith.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2017.
298 pp., hardcover & ebook, $19.99 (hc).
ISBN 978-1-77049-878-5 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-77049-879-2 (ebook).
Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.
Review by Aileen Wortley.
Kim wadded up a sweatshirt to use as a pillow and pressed it against the window. She closed her eyes and began to review the day that had passed and make plans for the next. Tomorrow we will find a house, she thought, without much conviction. I did it before and I’ll do it again. I can, I can, I can, she said to herself, as if by saying it she could make herself believe it. Then she thought that perhaps it had been sheer luck that she had happened on Johnny Trout’s empty cabin. How could something that good possibly happen again? But she wouldn’t let the others know she felt such dismay. “Good night,” she called out, in what she thought sounded like a hopeful voice.
In the entertaining sequel to Look Out for the Fitzgerald-Trouts, readers are reacquainted with Kim, Pippa, Kimo, Toby and baby Penny, each connected by their obnoxious, overlapping and neglectful parents. The children continue to be left to their own devices, using their wits and courage to survive on their tropical island.
Kim still desperately seeks a permanent home because they have outgrown their little green car for sleeping in. When Kimo wins a brand new motorboat that would double as home and transportation, it seems their problems are solved. Enter dastardly Johnny Trout, Kimo’s father, who has already devastated Kimo by loving his pet pig more than his son. Now he audaciously steals the children’s boat. Furthermore, as they try to reclaim it, the children realize he is illegally importing Whamacks, a variety of bug-eating plant that is changing the ecosystem of the island, causing floods, earthquakes and an increase in the very bugs they are supposed to stop. The children determination to save the island at any price results in numerous adventures along the way.
Once again, this improbable and far-fetched romp captures readers’ imaginations as they root for the children all the way. Anxious Kim, heart-broken Kimo, inventive Pippa and free-thinking Tony (even the baby) are engaging characters with their own personalities and a resourcefulness beyond their years. In their pursuit of justice, they tackle villains, earthquakes, floods, and dangerous plants, and even bring star-crossed lovers together.
With its dry humor, over the top storyline and whimsical illustrations by Sydney Smith that capture the offbeat tone of the text (he even clarifies the strange family lineage with a picture!) this page-turner is bound to delight the imagination of readers aged 8-12. Knock About with the Fitzgerald-Trouts is just as appealing as the first volume in the series. Dare we hope for a third?
Aileen Wortley is a retired librarian from Toronto, ON.
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