From the Publisher
“Readers who have longed for a follow-up to White's Newbery Honor Book, Belle Prater's Boy (1996) will be delighted with this fine sequel. Characterization, dialogue, and setting are among White's many literary strengths, and she doesn't disappoint here. The friendship between story-telling Woodrow and joke-cracking Gypsy just grows richer.” Booklist, Starred Review
“A worthy sequel to Belle Prater's Boy (Farrar, 1996)...the warmth, love, and humor of that book are here as well.” School Library Journal
“Readers . . . will be deeply satisfied by this elegantly conceived sequel with its tiny glints of magic.” Kirkus Reviews
“The plot is well paced, and readers will be gratified when good things happen for Woodrow. The down-home warmth of the first book carries over through Gypsy's narration; her voice is as lilting and fresh as ever.” The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
“Retains the distinctive colloquial cadences of Gypsy's first-person narrative.” The Horn Book
“A positive read in which wit and understanding illustrate a way of accepting human shortcomings.” SIGNAL
In this sequel to the Newbery Honor book Belle Prater's Boy (which is being repackaged simultaneously with a new cover, ISBN 978-0-440-41372-1), a search for Woodrow's mother, who disappeared a year earlier, stalls until a midnight phone call comes in, traced to a nearby town. Ages 9-12. (Feb.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-A worthy sequel to Belle Prater's Boy (Farrar, 1996). On his 13th birthday, Woodrow Prater receives a phone call, traced to the nearby town of Bluefield, WV, that sends him and his cousin Gypsy on a search for his mother, who disappeared almost a year before. They are joined by a new classmate, Cassie, who is gifted with second sight, and by Joseph, a runaway black teen looking for his father. While their search yields no Belle, Joseph is reunited with his long-lost aunt, whose memory is slightly jogged by Belle's photo. Returning home, Woodrow learns that his alcoholic father has decided to give up their cabin. Grandpa takes Woodrow, Gypsy, and Cassie on an overnight trip to the cabin where, guided by Cassie's dream, they find a letter that Belle had left for Woodrow, and he is reassured by the knowledge of her love for him. The many readers awaiting this sequel will be happy for Woodrow and they will likely be intrigued by the role Cassie's second sight plays in the story. The coincidental involvement of Joseph's aunt adds to the satisfying conclusion. Narrated once again by Gypsy, with many references to the '50s Southern setting when racial segregation was in full force, this book relies on a reading of Belle Prater's Boy for character development and background details, but the warmth, love, and humor of that book are here as well and it can be enjoyed on its own.-Marie Orlando, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
All of the readers who longed to know what happened to Woodrow Prater's mom from the Newbery Honor Belle Prater's Boy (1996) will be deeply satisfied by this elegantly conceived sequel with its tiny glints of magic. Told in the voice of Woodrow's cousin Gypsy, they are both now in seventh grade, a new friend named Cassie has the second sight and Woodrow's dad has gone off to get dried out, leaving Woodrow with his grandparents in Coal Station, Virginia in 1954. The three friends are determined to find Woodrow's mom, Gypsy's aunt Belle. They track her to Bluefield, WV, where they go on a remarkable daylong bus trip involving coincidences with the color blue, a maternal dwarf and Woodrow's first encounter with segregation. Along the way, stories are told, jokes are shared and family rituals engaged. It doesn't hurt to say that Woodrow finds his mama, and most-but not all-of the magic comes from loving and giving. (Fiction. 8-12)
Read an Excerpt
From The Search for Belle Prater
“Woodrow,” I said. “I found the hole in the air you told me about.”
“Huh?” he said, lifting his eyes from a cigar box full of papers and photographs.
“You know, the place where the two worlds touch. I felt it! Cassie did, too.”
“Oh, that,” Woodrow said, unimpressed. “Aunt Millie said it was some kind of natural phenomena having to do with the air currents coming down the holler between the hills.”
“But you told me—” I tried to protest.
“Yeah, I know, I told you a lot of stuff,” he said irritably. “Something’s there all right. You can feel it. But it ain’t no place where the two worlds touch. Me and Mama made that up to entertain ourselves. I told you we made it up!”
He turned again to his chore like he was dismissing the whole subject, and me with it.
“You usta think your mama was in that place,” I said, hoping he would talk to me and not be so mad all the time. But my words had the opposite effect. He slammed the cigar box on the floor.
“That’s stupid, Gypsy,” he yelled at me. “You just don’t get it, do you? I told you what happened. She dressed up in my clothes and snuck out of here. My daddy said she left him and she left me on purpose,
’cause she didn’t love us anymore. And he’s right. Case closed!”