cover image Wanted...Mud Blossom

Wanted...Mud Blossom

Betsy Cromer Byars. Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, $15.95 (148pp) ISBN 978-0-385-30428-3

Fans of the irrepressible Blossom clan will be delighted to learn that their exuberance has spilled over into this fifth volume. With her distinctive blend of compassion and quirky humor, Byars expands the Blossom saga with a story of friendship, responsibility and--maybe--love. Two mysterious disappearances catapult the entire family into a weekend of turmoil: Scooty, the class hamster entrusted to Junior's care, has vanished and all the evidence points to Pap's dog, Mud. Also missing is Mad Mary, the eccentric ``vulture lady,'' and Vern seems to know more than he's telling. Meanwhile, Maggie and Ralph can't decide whether to love or to hate each other. A trial to determine Mud's fate provides the novel's comic high point; its outcome gently reinforces the message of trust and respect as important components of friendship. While perhaps not as richly textured as previous books in the series, readers will enjoy watching the endearing Blossoms grow up. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)