Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Danger Box by Blue Balliett

dangerThis is the latest book by the author of the wonderful Chasing Vermeer, and it’s sequels.  I didn’t love everything about it (in fact, I almost quit reading during the first chapter because I found it annoyingly vague) but once I got into the real story, it pulled me right in.  First of all, I’m always interested in a book that’s told in the present tense, “I’m pulling the Danger Box out from the back of the toolshed.  Now I’m crouching by the rakes and hoes.  It’s a windy June night, and the shadows from the kitchen light are bumping and chasing.”  And Zoomy is a great character.  He lives with his grandparents, who love him despite his strange habits (incessant finger-tapping and list-making), and medical condition (pathological myopia).  In fact, his grandmother always seems to know what he’s feeling, and how to make him feel better.  It’s a pretty folksy tale, not always a favorite for me, but, for the most part, the author makes it work.  Zoomy’s life is completely changed by two things: his psychopathic father reappears in his life, and he makes his first friend, Lorrol, a girl he keeps running into at the library.  Zoomy’s dad, Buckeye, left behind a wooden box, and when they decide to open it, they find an old journal inside.  Zoomy begs to be allowed to read it, and of course, trying to figure out what it is opens the door for all kinds of discoveries and adventure.  There’s arson, theft, attempted murder…All in all, a good read.  Review by Stacy Church

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