Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Cottonmouth Club by Lance Marcum

11-year-old Mitch has his upcoming summer with his best friend Tick planned out in detail: monster movies, 10-S 2 RRC (ride 10 speeds to Redlands, Riverside, and Crestline), skateboarding (down "the Hill" where Mitch previously left most of the skin of his right leg on the pavement), swimming, and sleepovers/stay up late/sleep in/TV/cartoons/Stooges. Mitch is horrified when his father announces that he has to report for a military assignment and the rest of the family is going to spend the entire summer on the farm in Louisiana where his mother grew up. There are a bunch of cousins - all boys who wear overalls and no shoes - that Mitch is expected to make friends with, a group of juvenile delinquents he tries to join in with, a raging bull and worst of all, poisonous cottonmouth snakes. This is a funny book and it paints a good picture of what life was like in the rural deep south, but I think some of the things Mitch does when he's hanging out with the "bad kids" (such as swimming across a cottonmouth-filled creek on a dare) are more dangerous and should be taken more seriously than they seem to be in the story. Review by Stacy Church

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