cover image Bingo Brown and the Language of Love: 9

Bingo Brown and the Language of Love: 9

Betsy Cromer Byars. Viking Children's Books, $12.95 (160pp) ISBN 978-0-670-82791-6

Bingo, that incomparable optimist from The Burning Questions of Bingo Brown , returns with even bigger issues to challenge him and charm readers. Melissa, the love of his life, has moved away, and Bingo is hit first with an enormous long-distance telephone bill and then with the empty feeling that comes when love wanes. In addition to his romantic problems, his parents have acquired strange habits (his mother runs away to her own mother's house) and a girl who is physically well-developed keeps forcing Bingo to engage in conversation. Bingo, with his wry, self-mocking tone, is just enough of a stumble-bum to bring laughs, but sensitive and thoughtful enough to make his exploits seem grounded in realism. He is such a romantic, and a heart-breaker to boot--surely one of Byars's most enduring characters. Ages 8-12. (May)