cover image Paperboy


Mary Kay Kroeger. Clarion Books, $17 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-395-64482-9

Lustrous watercolors illuminate this finely crafted period piece set against the Dempsey-Tunney boxing match of 1927. Willie Brinkman works every day after school selling newspapers in Cincinnati, and with his hero, Jack Dempsey, attempting a comeback for the world heavyweight championship, he eagerly signs up to sell ""extras"" the night of the fight. The family gathers around the radio to listen--scenes Lewin (illustrator of Borden's Just in Time for Christmas) depicts by showing the rapt family in color and the boxers in black and white. When Dempsey loses, it takes true grit on Willie's part to keep his pledge and try to sell the unpopular news. Based on an event in first-time author Kroeger's father's childhood, the story is seamlessly told, with loving attention to detail, and Lewin's gift for portraiture brings the characters, and an era, to glowing life. Ages 5-9. (Mar.)