Happy Yellow Car

Overview

Gunther Grunt buys a new car with the money his wife has been saving to send their twelve-year-old daughter, Betty, to college. To make matters worse, Betty has been elected Pork-Fry Queen by her classmates and now she doesn't have the money needed to buy flowers for the teacher. What follows is a comedic chain of events that teaches the Grunts about the value of family.

During the Depression, Gunther Grunt buys a new car with the money his wife has been saving to ...

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Overview

Gunther Grunt buys a new car with the money his wife has been saving to send their twelve-year-old daughter, Betty, to college. To make matters worse, Betty has been elected Pork-Fry Queen by her classmates and now she doesn't have the money needed to buy flowers for the teacher. What follows is a comedic chain of events that teaches the Grunts about the value of family.

During the Depression, Gunther Grunt buys a new car with the money his wife has been saving to send their bright twelve-year-old daughter to college, beginning a chain of events that teaches the Grunts the value of their family.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Horvath (An Occasional Cow) returns with another off-center, perpetually surprising comic novel, this one set during the Depression. The Grunt family is a motley crew; and its one bright light is daughter Betty, whose intellectual tendencies lead Mrs. Grunt to secretly sock away some money for a college fund. But the normally taciturn Mr. Grunt (whose chief remark is ``hrunk'') surprises the whole family when he stumbles across the money and uses it to purchase a bright yellow automobile. With not a spare cent in the house, Betty must summon all her ingenuity when she is named the Pork Fry Queen, an honor contingent upon her raising a dollar for flowers. Betty is aided and abetted by an assortment of memorable family members as she investigates the rumor that a fortune is squirreled away on the family farm. Fresh humor and razor-sharp dialogue compensate for the abruptness of the ending; similarly, the conclusion's slight ambiguities are more than offset by its thoughtful, resonant themes. Ages 10-up. (Sept.)
Publishers Weekly
In a starred review, PW wrote, "Horvath returns with another off-center, perpetually surprising comic novel," this one set in the Depression and starring the Grunt family. Ages 10-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-When Pa drives a big shiny yellow car home from work, the Grunt family is dumbfounded. It is the middle of the Great Depression and they are having a hard time just making ends meet. When Ma learns that he used her secret fund to pay for it, she is furious. She had been saving for years to send 12-year-old Betty, the most promising of their 4 children, to college. Betty, however, has a more immediate concern. She has been elected Pork-Fry Queen, and she needs a dollar for her flowers. She and her harum-scarum family go from one misadventure to another as she tries to come up with the needed money. Horvath uses exaggeration to make this an outrageously funny family story. Ma and Betty's sophisticated talk contrasts with the plain speech of the rest of the family and adds additional amusement. The oddities of the relatives serve to make this almost a tall tale. The humor is more slapstick than in the author's An Occasional Cow (1989) and No More Cornflakes (1993, both Farrar). Those who enjoy Betsy Byars's The Not-Just-Anybody Family (Dell, 1987) and similar stories will get a hoot out of this one.-Virginia Golodetz, St. Michael's College, Winooski, VT
Stephanie Zvirin
Today's children won't realize it, but Horvath has perfectly reincarnated Ma and Pa Kettle in this wacky comedy set in dusty, small-town Missouri. Twelve-year-old Betty is the main character, but she's backed up by an unforgettable family (Gunther, Grant, Garth, Gretel, and mom Althea) with a surname, Grunt, that sets up the comedy. Elected Pork-Fry Queen by her classmates, Betty must come up with a dollar for flowers or lose out to the teacher's pet. The task would have been easier had her father not discovered Betty's college fund, which he has spent on a spiffy yellow car. Now, Betty's only hope is to find the money her grandmother is rumored to have buried before she died. Horvath's sharp, ingenious country-bumpkin humor is sheer delight, though it will be the more sophisticated readers who'll appreciate the roots from which it's derived. Her mere wisp of a plot gets its zing from the cornball characters (even Betty takes a turn at being a buffoon), and from the slapstick family dynamics that snare readers on the very first page and keep 'em chuckling till the end.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781417694976
  • Publisher: San Val
  • Publication date: 4/28/2004
  • Format: Library Binding

Meet the Author

Polly Horvath's books include Everything on a Waffle, a Newbery Honor Book, and The Trolls, a National Book Award Finalist. She lives in Metchosin, British Columbia.

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