cover image Stucksville


DK Publishing, Sheila Greenwald. DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley), $15.95 (112pp) ISBN 978-0-7894-2675-8

Living with her struggling actor/waiter parents, the fourth-grade heroine of this witty novel knows that the only sure thing is change: her family has moved half a dozen times already, most recently to Manhattan. However, faced with a class assignment about ""My New York,"" Emerald finds herself making unexpected connections to her community. At first she thinks, ""It was no more her New York than it had been her Louisville or Minneapolis or Duluth or any of the other places her parents had gone to work with high hopes and big dreams."" Then Emerald teams with the super's bossy daughter Angel and artistic Guthry to create miniature replicas of their apartments--Emerald's complete with her parents' all-purpose trunk/table, broken springs and dust balls. Greenwald (the Rosy Cole series) sensitively tackles Emerald's shame about her apartment and her struggle between staying detached and investing herself in her surroundings. An entertaining Rear Window-style subplot has Emerald staring into other people's windows and intervening as part detective, part superhero, saving a person and facilitating a romance, until her well-intentioned phone call to the fire department over a flaming dessert brings humiliation. The tidy conclusion skirts a few issues, but otherwise Greenwald supplies a satisfying story about the meaning of home. Ages 7-11. (Oct.)