cover image The Not Just Anybody Family

The Not Just Anybody Family

Betsy Cromer Byars. Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, $13.95 (149pp) ISBN 978-0-385-29443-0

Not-just-any novel, Byars's latest races without pause between hilarious, suspenseful and touching crises. Rogers's drawings are fine but almost unneeded; every scene is vividly described from the moment Maggie and Vern await their little brother Junior's flight from the barn on his handmade wings. Hearing a police car near their isolated rural home, the older children scamper; Junior falls, breaks his leg, and the cops take him to the hospital in town. Here the boy learns that their Grandpa is in jail and that Vern (with Maggie's help) has broken into the man's cell through a high window. The feat makes celebrities of the family and brings the children's widowed mother, a rodeo-circuit rider, home posthaste. Junior's roommate, Ralphie, who tells terrible lies (""the ice cream is doped; I'll eat yours, I'm immune''); Mud, Grandpa's lost dog who defies all obstacles to get to his loved one; and everybody in the Newbery Medalist's new story will capture her readers' hearts. Pity poor grownups who don't have the pleasure of such endearing company. (10-up)