Nicky Deuce: Welcome to the Family

Steve R. Schirripa, Author, Charles Fleming, Author . Delacorte $15.95 (167p) ISBN 978-0-385-73257-4

At the start of this zesty collaboration between actor Schirripa (The Sopranos ) and author Fleming (Three Weeks in October: The Manhunt for the Serial Sniper ), Nicholas Borelli, raised in a tony New Jersey suburb, arrives in Brooklyn to spend several weeks with Tutti, his gastronomically gifted Italian-American grandmother. Soon after stepping into Tutti's apartment, the 12-year-old's indoctrination into this unfamiliar life begins when he tastes his first meatball, "the most delicious thing he'd ever eaten in his life"—a far cry from the fare his vegetarian mother serves. But the one who gives the novel its most heady spice is Tutti's hefty, gold chain-sporting son Frankie, who renames his nephew Nicky Deuce ("a good name for a junior goomba"), shows him clips from Hollywood movies that reveal what it means to be a goomba ("an honorable man—whether he's a gangster or a lawyer or a cop") and introduces him to some colorful neighborhood characters with names like Sallie the Butcher and Charlie Cement. When Frankie tells Nicky he makes his living "keep[ing] an eye on things for some people," and the boy discovers guns and a bullet-proof vest in his uncle's gym bag, he suspects the worst. In a comically ironic twist, Nicky finds out what's what after he and a new neighborhood friend become involved in some illegal goings-on and are taken hostage by a mobster. Given the tale's tangy writing, peppy pace and engaging personalities, are kids likely to put this book down? Fugheddaboudit! Ages 8-12. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 09/12/2005
Release date: 09/01/2005
Genre: Children's
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-307-28275-0
Compact Disc - 978-0-307-28272-9
Library Binding - 167 pages - 978-0-385-90275-5
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