cover image New Kid on Spurwink Ave.

New Kid on Spurwink Ave.

Michael Crowley. Little Brown and Company, $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-316-16230-2

When Leonard moves onto Spurwink Ave., the Spurwink Gang, under pressure from a gang member's mother, is exhorted to let him join. But the bespectacled, antisocial boy proves to be a drag. He refuses to join in the imaginary adventures of the self-styled ferocious band of grammar-schoolers, preferring instead to tinker with pieces of found junk. But just as the gang is about to give up on the newcomer, Leonard redeems himself, roaring down the street in ``the strangest, loudest, and possibly coolest vehicle'' ever seen on Spurwink Ave.--made from his collection of spare parts. Crowley's first children's book is agreeable though unremarkable. His tongue-in-cheek style builds nicely to the amusing outcome, however, as readers come to realize with delight that the seemingly inconspicuous details of Leonard tinkering with his odds and ends turn out to be the very ingredients of his success. Carter's illustrations, though jolly in a cartoony way, employ an unusual palette--vivid pastel hues that would seem more at home in a book for a younger audience. Ages 5-8. (Apr.)