cover image The Good Fortunes Gang

The Good Fortunes Gang

Margaret Mahy. Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, $13.95 (100pp) ISBN 978-0-385-31015-4

The first book in a four-volume series introduces the Fortune family, whose gypsy-like existence takes them from Australia to their father's childhood home in New Zealand. Greeted by throngs of Fortunes, who share a fondness for songs about prunes and speaking in rhymes, middle-child Pete tries to accept the idea that small-town Fairfield might become a real home. But his cousin Tracey, ``a hard case,'' haunts his dreams and threatens his chances of fitting in with his newly met relatives. Eager to join ``the Good Fortunes Gang'' run by the machiavellian Tracey and two other cousins, Pete must spend a night in a graveyard in order to prove he has the stuff of real Fortunes. The much-acclaimed author doesn't miss a beat. Her fluid writing style blends wonderful snatches of humor with a perceptive understanding of what it means to be part of an eccentric family. Because this first series installment is just as original and witty as the author's many other titles, it seems the fate of the Fortunes will be well worth watching. Ages 8-11. (June)