cover image Box of Nothing

Box of Nothing

Peter Dickinson. Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, $14.95 (110pp) ISBN 978-0-385-29664-9

One morning, James ducks into an empty store, the one he's always called the Nothing Shop, and buys a box of quality Nothing for zero cents. He thinks the dusty shopkeeper is just playing word games, but when he discovers how the town dump and its inhabitants have been transformed, he begins to think that the box of Nothing might be something after all. James ventures to the Dump, which is now populated by huge rats and gulls and a strange personage named the Dump Burra. The Burra rescues James, and together they decide to find out what has gone wrong with the Dump. It has stopped functioning``gone fossil.'' They find a black hole; James throws his box of Nothing into the hole, which precipitates a Big Bang. The Dump is sucked through the black holeremade into a Burra universe, and James is returned to his everyday world, knowing no one will ever believe his tale. Dickinson, author of the Changes Trilogy, has written a dazzling story, ingeniously meshing astrophysics with a boy's adventure. It's subtle, intelligent and, most of all, fun. Ages 10-14. (May)