Weird Stories from the Lonesome Cafe

Weird Stories from the Lonesome Cafe

by Judy Cox, Diane Kidd
     
 

Ten-year-old Sam is spending the summer in the middle of Nevada, working at the remote Lonesome Café. And the Help Wanted sign in the window brings some very strange visitors--Bigfoot, Elvis, a jolly fat man from the North Pole, and a young girl and her dog who blow in on a tornado from Kansas. And then there's the spaceship that crashes nearby and its little

Overview


Ten-year-old Sam is spending the summer in the middle of Nevada, working at the remote Lonesome Café. And the Help Wanted sign in the window brings some very strange visitors--Bigfoot, Elvis, a jolly fat man from the North Pole, and a young girl and her dog who blow in on a tornado from Kansas. And then there's the spaceship that crashes nearby and its little green passenger. . . . Sam is kept busy distracting the nosy TV news team so they don't discover the identities of the odd visitors, but it's not easy. Come along for a visit to the Lonesome Café--it's the place to be.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As she did in Rabbit Pirates, Cox chooses an amiable eating establishment setting as the setting for this cheerful spoof. Sam's Uncle Clem, an aspiring author, wishes something would happen at his remote Nevada caf so that he would have something to write about. Yet narrator Sam spots some mighty strange occurrences right under their noses. Just after an enormous, furry stranger whom the duo names Harry arrives for some chow, a TV news crew appears in search of Bigfoot, who has been spotted in the area. Next, a fellow with dark hair "slicked-back and waved up high" pulls up in a 1950s pink Caddy and introduces himself as "El." Mr. C, a jolly, round gent with a big white beard on vacation from his workshop up North shows up next, followed by a pigtailed girl who blows in on a small tornado and announces to her dog, "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore." Sam's oblivious uncle hires them all, still insisting that "nothing ever happens here" each time the reporters return in search of a story. Cox sprinkles her quick-moving if predictable narrative with double entendres and references that range from obvious to waggish ("Must be all shook up," says El after an alien emerges from his crashed spaceship). The Lonesome Caf doesn't set out to serve up substantial fare, but the light snack it offers will satiate kids with an appetite for shenanigans, and Kidd's black-and-white cartoon art dishes out an extra dollop of fun. Ages 7-10. (Apr.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
In seven short chapters, Sam moves to Nevada with his uncle to open a roadside cafe. The next five chapters add to the cafe staff Big Foot as a cook, Elvis as a bread deliveryman, Santa Claus as all-around repairman, Dorothy (and Toto), and a little green man whose spaceship has wrecked. The running joke is that the uncle can't get to his writing because the cafe is taking too much time and a news team of three can't seem to find any story because nothing seems to be happening here in the desert. Plenty of white space, pleasing cartoon illustrations sprinkled every few pages, being on the inside of the joke, and a tidy circular ending will appeal to young readers making this a good choice for the second and third grade easy reading shelf. 2000, Browndeer Press/Harcourt, Ages 6 to 8, $15.00. Reviewer: Susan Hepler—Children's Literature
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Sam moves with his uncle to the middle of the desert for peace and quiet. Uncle Clem is supposed to be a writer, but his severe lack of imagination keeps him from seeing that the Lonesome Caf he opens employs Bigfoot, Elvis, Santa Claus, Dorothy and Toto, and E. T. It's Sam who recognizes their incredible paranormal good fortune, and Sam who tells the story. It's Clem who inadvertently saves each of the newcomers from being discovered by the persistent Channel 54 News team. While Cox stretches the story idea fairly thin, she succeeds in writing an early chapter book with appeal to more sophisticated older reluctant readers. They'll appreciate the repetition as well as the joke on Uncle Clem. Kidd's plentiful, black-and-white illustrations provide comic relief without looking too childish for the older audience.-Pat Leach, Lincoln City Libraries, NE Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Kirkus Reviews
The "Help Wanted" sign in a cafe window draws some unusual applicants in this breezy, tongue-in-cheek middle reader from the author of Mean Mean Maureen Green (1999). As proprietor/struggling writer Uncle Clem insists that nothing worth noting ever happens along their stretch of Nevada road, young Sam serves up a peanut-butter/fried-banana/bacon sandwich to a man with a pink Cadillac and blue suede shoes (" ‘Thank you,' drawled the man. ‘Thank you very much.' ") and a vanilla shake to a jolly vacationer from way up north ("Red cheeks: check. White beard: check. Round little belly: check. No. It couldn't be!"). Then an oversized dust devil delivers a girl with a dog (" ‘I don't think we're in Kansas anymore.' ") and helps rescue a small green traveler from a—vehicle—that crashes nearby (" ‘Can't understand a word he says,' said Uncle Clem. ‘Must be from out of state.' ") And these aren't the only visitors. Kidd supplies a generous array of vignettes and full-page cartoons, adding both fun and visual clues to the identities of these new employees. Though the Lonesome Cafe can't match Cynthia Rylant's Van Gogh Cafe (1995) for marvelous goings-on, this will be a hit with young children, as well as reluctant readers old enough to twig to the cultural references. (Fiction. 7-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780152021344
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
04/28/2000
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
80
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

What People are saying about this

Bruce Coville
As delicious as a piece of homemade apple pie - especially if you have a taste for the whimsical and the wacky

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >