cover image Spring Break

Spring Break

Johanna Hurwitz. HarperCollins Publishers, $15.95 (128pp) ISBN 978-0-688-14937-6

In this relatively sedate tale featuring Cricket Kaufman and pals, first introduced in Class Clown, Hurwitz takes a break from the series' predominantly school setting. For the bulk of the novel--and all of her spring vacation--Cricket is laid up with a broken ankle. Luckily, the fifth grader's personality, handily revealed through animated conversation and humorous snippets of the girl's thoughts, is sufficiently appealing to carry the plot, which, given the heroine's homebound status, is unavoidably short on action. Cricket's accident comes at the worst possible time, as she must pass up a long-planned trip to Washington, D.C., with the family of her best friend, Zoe. Adding insult to injury, Zoe invites another classmate to go on the trip in Cricket's place. Hurwitz smoothes out that wrinkle with a breezy narrative showing how Cricket's friends and teacher help her cope with her frustration and boredom. Though not as effervescent as the author's tales of Ali Baba Bernstein, Aldo and Elisa, this bright bauble will give fans of Cricket and company a welcome update. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 7-up. (Apr.)