On the Road to Mr. Mineo’s

Barbara O’Connor. FSG/Foster, $15.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-374-38002-1
A one-legged pigeon stirs up summer excitement in the town of Meadville, S.C., in this characteristically atmospheric story from O’Connor (The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester). Spirited Stella is the first to spy the pigeon, and she is determined to make him her pet (something her parents have refused her in the past). She enlists the reluctant help of her best friend Gerald, who prefers quiet card games to Stella’s elaborate and generally ill-advised adventures. But with Stella’s older brother, Levi; his “scabby kneed, germ-infested friends”; and Mutt Raynard, Meadville’s version of the boy who cried wolf, also on the pigeon’s trail, the hunt is on. O’Connor’s understated third-person narration moves languidly among the children (and some adults) in town—including Mr. Mineo, the homing pigeon’s actual owner—in a story that beautifully captures the feel of a small Southern town and its residents. Friendship and sibling dynamics get heated at times, but O’Connor’s light touch keeps the story buoyant, leading up to an ending as satisfying as a cold glass of iced tea on a hot summer afternoon. Ages 8–12. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/03/2012
Release date: 10/02/2012
Genre: Children's
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