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Children's LiteratureThe city council decides to condemn a dilapidated, old bowling alley, but best friends Ouchie, and Squishy, do not want that to happen. They go to the Bowl-a-rama for one last game and meet the eccentric and rich owner Gazebo Zamboni. Despite his many oddities, including his belief the world is coming to an end on New Year's, the boys and he become friends and he agrees to bankroll their efforts to restore the bowling alley. Things are going along well until it becomes clear that someone wants Mr. Z permanently out of business. All of this provides fodder for Squishy's over-active imagination, developed from his being a horror movie buff. He expects his worst nightmares to be realized, which indeed they are at the million dollar strike contest. Bowling doesn't have the appeal of hockey, soccer, or basketball, but readers will find this an intriguing story. Ouchie's and Squishy's relationship is authentically depicted, as are their gradually developed feelings for Mr. Z. Gutman manages to subtly make two points: be yourself and don't make snap judgments about people. A light yet suspenseful read, this will appeal to boys, even those who are reluctant readers. 2004, Hyperion Books, Ages 9 to 12.