Traveling Backward by Toby Forward, Laura Cornell |, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Traveling Backward

Traveling Backward

by Toby Forward, Laura Cornell

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After moving from Arizona to Kentucky with his parents, his five-year-old twin brother and sister, and his pet tarantula, Fang, an eleven-year-old works creatively to earn the money for a special pair of basketball shoes that will help him feel accepted.


After moving from Arizona to Kentucky with his parents, his five-year-old twin brother and sister, and his pet tarantula, Fang, an eleven-year-old works creatively to earn the money for a special pair of basketball shoes that will help him feel accepted.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Fanny can hardly bear the idea that her grandfather is dying, and she escapes from the appalling aunts and uncles clustered at his deathbed in order to visit her inscrutable neighbor Mrs. May. Sympathetic to Fanny's distress, Mrs. May hands Fanny a potion for Grandfather, prescribing one small glass every day ``until he's better,'' and not one drop more. Grandfather regains his vigor and treats Fanny to some rollicking adventures, but he keeps drinking from Mrs. May's bottle, which never empties. He gets younger and younger, until Fanny is forced to reconsider her wish to keep him around ``forever.'' This British import invites obvious comparisons with Natalie Babbitt's Tuck Everlasting , as it, too, explores the idea of tampering with the natural cycle of life; however, Forward's tale is far less complex. The tone, meanwhile, recalls that of Roald Dahl. But this fantasy does exercise a charm of its own. Fanny is both sensible and likable, and her affection for her grandfather comes across as genuine. Though Grandfather dies in the end, the reprieve that he and Fanny enjoy makes his departure more comprehensible and acceptable, for Fanny as well as for the reader. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 8-up. (Aug.)
Children's Literature - Mary Sue Preissner
Ryan O'Keefe knows it's bad when you're the shortest kid in your class. To make matters worse, his parents moved the family from Arizona to Kentucky. Could things become worse? Of course! He'll be entering junior high in the sixth grade; everyone knows the seventh and eighth graders pick on the sixth. Is there any hope? Ryan believes his fate rests in a pair of $124.99 basketball shoes for which he hasn't the money. In this hilarious spin, eventually Ryan learns the importance of "things."
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Ryan looks forward to being at the top of the elementary school ladder as a sixth grader, but a family move leaves him facing life at the bottom of the middle-school ranks instead. As an experienced basketball player, he hopes to win acceptance through sports, but his new friend Gordon convinces him that success depends on wearing the latest expensive basketball shoes. His parents agree to give him $40, so Ryan must earn the rest of the money himself. Odd jobs raise some cash, but he hits the big time-and learns some lessons-when he showcases his pet tarantula. Told in the first person, this well-written, often humorous story addresses the themes of conformity, peer pressure, and responsbility in a light, but authentic voice.-Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL
Deborah Abbott
First published in England, this fast-paced story, written by an Episcopal priest, finds Fanny at her grandfather's deathbed, deeply saddened. With greedy relatives hovering in anticipation, Fanny runs off in tears, ending up at Mrs. May's house. Magical Mrs. May offers a potion that will bring Grandfather back to life, but she warns that the liquid must be used sparingly and the remainder returned. Ecstatic, Fanny gives her grandfather the bottle and soon witnesses his rejuvenation. It isn't long, however, before Fanny realizes that the miracle is double-edged: each day her grandfather reverts further into his youth. The wordplay ("Traveling Backward" by Forward) ensures readers will expect the unexpected, and Forward draws his characters well, adding dashes of humor. The dust jacket may appeal to younger children, but it will be readers with a certain maturity who will best appreciate the meaty "getting what you ask for" theme.
Kay Weisman
Moving from Arizona to Kentucky has upset 11-year-old Ryan O'Keefe, who worries about making friends and starting a new school. He's sure he can solve all his problems by purchasing a pair of Slam Dunk Sky Jumper basketball shoes (for $124.99, plus tax)--if only he can earn the money. With the help of a new friend, Gordon, and his pet tarantula, Fang, Ryan finally achieves his goal and even manages to put his purchase into proper perspective. Birdseye hits young adolescent concerns right on the mark, delivering his message with humor and empathy in a satisfying story that will appeal to middle-grade readers.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st U.S. ed
Product dimensions:
5.82(w) x 8.57(h) x 0.65(d)

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