cover image The Up & Down Spring

The Up & Down Spring

Johanna Hurwitz. HarperCollins Publishers, $14 (105pp) ISBN 978-0-688-11922-5

Hurwitz's brisk episodic novel, third in a series ( The Hot & Cold Summer ; The Cold & Hot Winter ), deftly depicts how children handle experiences that fall short of their expectations. Rory, Derek and their unpredictable friend, Bolivia return for another vacation adventure. Excitement at visiting Bolivia during spring break quickly turns to anxiety for Rory, who dreads the airplane ride that Bolivia's arranged as a special birthday treat. To make matters worse, Bolivia's rigidly planned every minute of their stay, including exotic meals and a trip to the ballet. Rory gets a good dose of the unexpected when he gets lost in Bolivia's neighborhood, and then, while playing sick to avoid the plane ride, saves the house from burning down. Much to his surprise, Rory discovers that he really is sick--with chicken pox, extending the boys' stay for another week. When Bolivia, Rory and Derek finally confess their initial qualms about their reunion, they find their friendship strengthened and they achieve a more relaxed attitude. Their concerns are right on target for Hurwitz's audience, especially the boys' ambivalence toward being far from home and placed in a more sophisticated household. Tightly constructed and easy to read, this sequel ends on a note that's definitely up. Ages 8-up. (May)