The Vacationby Polly Horvath, Kirby Heyborne
Henry’s parents are off to Africa, leaving him in the care of his two aunts, Pigg and Magnolia. Shortly after they arrive, Magnolia comes down with what she at first fears is a life-threatening ailment. As she recovers, and turns forty, she decides that it is time she and Pigg do some of the things they have always put off doing, such as the vacation they haven’t taken in twenty years. They decide to go to the beach. And because they are responsible for Henry, they take him out of school and bring him along. Magnolia decides there is nothing much after all to lying on a beach, so they hit the road without an agenda, riding out into the great American landscape. By cell phone they keep in touch with Henry’s father, who’s searching for Henry’s mother, lost in the jungle while following some chimps. Henry floats off alone into a Florida swamp, unknown relatives are tracked down, and beaches and mountains and plains are explored. The unexpected and the familiar mingle, as some people join them and others are left behind. Through it all, Henry listens to his father, who exhorts him to find a way to travel without becoming lost. But Henry has to find his own way to travel.
“* At once poignant, funny, and wise, this book gives new meaning to the phrase 'The best journeys never end.'” Publishers Weekly, starred review
“* Horvath spins another delightfully offbeat yarn, complete with her signature cast of eccentric characters, wacky situations, poignant moments, and snappy dialogue. Another hit for Horvath.” School Library Journal, starred review
“A new offering from the queen of offbeat is always a welcome holiday.” Kirkus Reviews
“Bitingly funny. A celebration of the clarity that can come when one simply decides just to be.” The Horn Book
“Horvath's unhurried eccentricity is perfectly suited to this kind of picaresque novel. Horvath fans . . . will want to grab a seat on this wierd yet compelling road trip.” The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
- Random House Audio Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Unabridged, 3CDs, 3 hrs.
- Product dimensions:
- 5.73(w) x 4.86(h) x 1.00(d)
- Age Range:
- 8 - 11 Years
Read an Excerpt
By Horvath, Polly
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)Copyright © 2005 Horvath, Polly
All right reserved.
I must admit the beach was hot. I do not know why I didn't expect this. I guess when you see beaches in magazine ads they look as if they are always a temperature for perfect comfort. We put our towels down, and Aunt Mag and Aunt Pigg lay on the sand where flies would land on them and then apparently change their minds. I watched this for a while. Then Aunt Magnolia sat up. "I'm too hot, Pigg," she said.
"I know what you mean," said Aunt Pigg. "But let's give it a while longer"
They lay down again, and then Aunt Magnolia said, "How much longer?"
"Maybe we should get wet first," said Aunt Pigg. "Then we'll be just the right temperature."
Excerpted from The Vacation by Horvath, Polly Copyright © 2005 by Horvath, Polly. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author
Polly Horvath is the author of many books for young people, including Everything on a Waffle, The Pepins and Their Problems, The Canning Season, and The Trolls. Her numerous awards include the Newbery Honor, the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor, the Vicky Metcalf Award for Children's Literature, the Mr. Christie Award, the International White Raven, and the Young Adult Canadian Book of the Year. Horvath grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She attended the Canadian College of Dance in Toronto and the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance in New York City. She has taught ballet, waitressed, done temporary typing, and tended babies, but while doing these things she has always also written. Now that her children are in school, she spends the whole day writing, unless she sneaks out to buy groceries, lured away from her desk by the thought of fresh Cheez Whiz. She lives on Vancouver Island with her husband and two daughters.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Polly Horvath's up to her old tricks again - writing clever, concise laugh out loud funny prose. 'The Vacation' introduces Henry. Now, Henry ought to be used to rather outre adults because his father, who works for the Fillmore Brush Company, vows his deep affection for his son, urges him to keep safe and then orders him not to die. His mother, on the other hand, has found a mission. Although she's not in the least religious, she's decided to become a missionary in Africa. Father would much rather stay on the road for the brush company but off they go leaving Henry in the care of Aunt Magnolia and Aunt Pigg. While Henry's parents are a bit unique, his aunts are bizarre. Upon their arrival Henry moves into his closet to get as far from them as he can. But, he is to be closer to them than he has ever dreamed. For this eccentric pair decide it's time to take a trip, although they're not quite sure about a destination. Aunt Magnolia (who is recovering from a recent illness) wants to go to the beach, so the trio drive off to Virginia Beach. The lure of sand and sun soon wear thin so Aunt Magnolia decides she wants to see some blue grass in Kentucky. They take to the road again. After they view the blue grass from their car door, Aunt Pigg decides she wants to see the Everglades. Well, you get the picture. 'The Vacation' is a witty, surprising travelogue as the trio motor across the country and poor Henry becomes lost in a Florida swamp. It should be mentioned that he's not the only one missing - his mother has disappeared in an African jungle. Newbery Honor author Polly Horvath has a fertile imagination and non-stop humor that's sure to appeal to younger readers. - Gail Cooke