George Harrar, Author, Elizabeth Thayer, Illustrator , illus. by Elizabeth Thayer. Milkweed $16.95 (176p) ISBN 978-1-57131-647-9 ISBN 978-1-57131-647-9

In 1919, as the "war to end all wars" draws to a close in Europe, narrator Jeremy Chance, a 12-year-old in New Hampshire, experiences a battle close to home, in the prolonged dispute between his father and their neighbor. Siding with the neighbor earns Jeremy a whipping; hurt and angry, the boy runs away ("Wasn't that one thing we fought the Germans for, to live free?" Jeremy asks himself. "What good was living free if you couldn't say what you thought?"). Jeremy heads to Boston, where his brother, a soldier who has been on the front lines, will be arriving soon from Europe. Delivered in Jeremy's crisp, personable voice, this timeless tale of family conflict and coming of age also conveys the thrills of a country boy's first trip to the city. Harrar (Parents Wanted ) expresses Jeremy's awe and curiosity as he sneaks a ride on a freight train, dines in a restaurant and witnesses a freakish disaster (a molasses factory explosion). The boy makes some mistakes (squandering all his money on one meal and stealing rum balls from a vendor) before he hooks up with his brother (and with his repentant father, too). In the end, the protagonist proves himself a hero, saving a man's life and regaining his father's respect. Besides providing fast-paced action and a happy ending, this colorful novel captures the mood of the nation at the start of an exciting new era. Final artwork not seen by PW . Ages 8-13. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 10/27/2003
Release date: 00/00/0000
Paperback - 143 pages - 978-1-57131-646-2
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-31458-9
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-613-79199-1
Paperback - 143 pages - 978-1-57131-669-1
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