Overview

It's 1895 in New York City. Hard times have hit, and life isn't going to get noticeably better any time soon. Almost thirteen-year-old Chipper Carey is running with the Midnight Rats kid gang just to survive. Chipper doesn't normally like to think beyond the present. His past has been bad enough! Ma died of consumption when he was six. His short-lived stay with Aunt Millie and Uncle Bert consisted of endless beatings. He never even knew his father. Sure, Chipper feels badly about the gang's stealing and fighting....
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Chipper

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Overview

It's 1895 in New York City. Hard times have hit, and life isn't going to get noticeably better any time soon. Almost thirteen-year-old Chipper Carey is running with the Midnight Rats kid gang just to survive. Chipper doesn't normally like to think beyond the present. His past has been bad enough! Ma died of consumption when he was six. His short-lived stay with Aunt Millie and Uncle Bert consisted of endless beatings. He never even knew his father. Sure, Chipper feels badly about the gang's stealing and fighting. He knows Ma wouldn't have approved. He knows she wanted and expected a respectable life for him. What does it matter that even he sometimes feels he's different, maybe even better, than the rest of the gang? What ultimately has to matter is reality, and without the Midnight Rats, Chipper would have nothing. He'd starve. He'd face thrashings more serious than those inflicted by the police. Worst of all, he'd be alone. Fortunately for Chipper, fate takes over and introduces him to the wealthy Miss Sibley. For once, it becomes possible for him to forget that the rich are the enemy. For once, like his Ma, someone else believes that he really was meant for something better.

Orphaned and homeless, twelve-year-old Chipper Carey is a street-wise gang member in 1890s New York City, until a con man introduces him to a wealthy woman who is seeking her long-lost nephew and Chipper must decide where his loyalties lie.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA
Set in the 1890s, Chipper's story is a terrific read. Orphaned at the age of six and beaten by his guardians, Chipper had no choice but to run away, learning to live on the streets of New York City. Chipper is now twelve years old and a member of the Midnight Rats street gang—a group of kids who pickpocket and pilfer to stay alive. While trying to fulfill yet another of his gang leader's faulty schemes, Chipper seemingly is befriended by a con man named Patch. Patch sees physical similarities between Chipper and a dead wealthy man. He involves Chipper in a complex scheme to extort money from the man's family by pretending that Chipper is the man's long-lost son. Chipper becomes torn by his loyalty to the gang members who have protected him and the wealthy family who is so kind to him. The ending seems predictable but will be a delightful surprise to many readers. Collier, celebrated author of My Brother Sam Is Dead (Simon & Schuster, 1984), leaks out the story slowly, keeping the reader just ahead of the endearingly naïve main character. Although most supporting characters are stereotypical, Chipper becomes a friend. Readers sense his confusion at being pulled in so many directions, relate to his feeling like an outsider, and celebrate when in the end he chooses to be true to himself. Young teens will enjoy the adventurous life on the street and the attempt to stay one step ahead of the unfolding story. This title is recommended for public libraries and middle school collections. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2001, MarshallCavendish, 144p, $14.95. Ages 12 to 15. Reviewer: Julie Roberts SOURCE: VOYA, August 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 3)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781620646939
  • Publisher: AudioGO
  • Publication date: 6/1/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 135
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

James Lincoln Collier has written many books for children, including Give Dad My Best and Planet Out of the Past. Mr. Collier has also contributed more than five hundred articles to the New York Times Magazine, Reader’s Digest, and Boy’s Life.
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