cover image Kid Curry's Last Ride

Kid Curry's Last Ride

Warwick Downing, Author Orchard Books (NY) $12.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-531-05802-2

This crisp, original story, set in Wyoming in the 1930s, begins with the familiar premise of a boy or girl spending the summer in a small town with nothing to do. Alex, 12, finds life at his grandmother's house quiet until an idea strikes him: ``It sure would be different to rob a bank.'' Kid Curry, a mysterious old man who claims he used to be an outlaw, half-convinces Alex they can do it. The characters are marvelous: Alex, feeling neglected by his formidable father, tries not to show it; Kid Curry, with his weakness for digressions, seems more vulnerable than cruel. A third engaging character, Miss Landusky, discreetly understands much more than she tells. The book, in fact, has such an amiable tone that readers will wonder if the crime can be brought offand Downing leaves them wondering to the end. With a poignancy that runs just beneath the surface, his novel gives a fresh interpretation of the disappearing Wild West, the modern West, and those stranded between the two worlds. A Richard Jackson Book. Ages 10-12. (Mar.)