Young David is quivering with a rage that he doesn't really understand. This nine-year-old is essentially an orphan; he has an absentee father, and his mother recently died in an accident. On the surface, he seems ill suited for friendship, especially with someone as bossy and scathingly sarcastic as Primrose, David's elder by four years. But there are similarities in the predicaments of this odd couple: Primrose's fortune teller mother lives in her own world, and her father exists only as an aging framed picture. Somehow the pair cobble together a close relationship. A story of abiding loss and budding friendship.
A nine-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl wouldn't seem to have much in common. But David and Primrose find they share some kindred feelings in their anger and hurt. David's mother has died in an accident and he's resisting with all his might a new living arrangement with his grandmother and always-at-work dad. Primrose's kooky fortune-teller mother and long-absent father have driven her to convert a broken-down van in the yard into her bedroom. A chance meeting and an unlikely friendship follow as both kids try to cope with-and perhaps find-what they're missing. Unfortunately, the story, though filled with quirky exploits, doesn't ever lift off. Morris, who voices both children, is not as convincing in the male role. Narrator Toren's smooth, velvety voice has a slightly imperious tone and sometimes sounds on the verge of laughter. The two-person-cast approach is clunky and not very effective here, and David and Primrose's frequent bickering and teasing, as well as David's excessive coldness toward his grandmother, grow tiresome. Ages 8-up. (July)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
David and Primrose make an odd pair. David, age nine, recently lost his mother, and he vents his rage at his long-suffering grandmother. Primrose, age 13, has a childlike, neglectful fortuneteller for a mother, and she never knew her father: she creates a bedroom for herself in a junked van. The two lonely children forge an unlikely friendship, full of teasing and bickering. Like siblings, though, they do care for each other. They sneak out at night to have adventures, like trashpicking or finding nightcrawlers for Refrigerator John, a handicapped repairman who becomes their friend. When Primrose and David set off on their biggest adventure, walking the rails all the way to Philadelphia, these two lost children who reach out to each other to fill the ache in their hearts discover that there are indeed many people who care about them. Still, this isn't a sentimental sob story, but rather the tale of two quirky, convincing characters for whom readers will come to feel great affection. This unusual new novel by the Newbery Medal-winning author of Maniac Magee may take some booktalking, but it's a touching tale.
It would be difficult to find a more unusual pair than David and Primrose. Nine-year-old David tries to follow every rule so that his mother will not be dead anymore. Thirteen-year-old Primrose lives in a van so that she will not have to share a tiny room with her fortune-teller mother. Their friendship is full of near-constant bickering, but somehow they each manage to fill in the missing pieces for each other. Spinelli uses the odd pairing of two youth with a four-year age difference to make his point about the meaning of other people in one's life. Although the characters have the typical Spinelli uniqueness, their actions tend to be predictable. The movement of the plot becomes attached to the little details of each character. David keeps a memento of his mother in his pocket and shows it to no one until at the end of the story when he shows it to Primrose. This book could be a comforting read for those who have had lost an essential person in their lives. It will certainly be a tough sell for some teens, but those with younger siblings might be able to relate to Primrose and David's situation.
Gr 4 -7-Primrose and David seem to have little in common other than living in the same small town. She is a sarcastic 13-year-old who has moved into a van in her yard to avoid living with her flamboyant psychic mother. He is an angry and sad nine-year-old who recently lost his mother in an accident and lives with his grandmother. After becoming friends, the pair start secretly sneaking out at night to scavenge items to sell at the flea market or to hang out with a reclusive handyman named Refrigerator John. Their evolving love/hate relationship is the focus of Jerry Spinelli's novel (Little, Brow, 2007) as listeners slowly find out about each character's problems. The serious issues are balanced by humorous episodes such as looking for night crawlers and trying to run away to the city. Although they would hardly admit it, Primrose and David begin to look to each other for unconditional support like siblings. All the voices are wonderfully narrated by Suzanne Toren and Cassandra Morris. A quirky, heart-warming story.-Teresa Wittmann, Westgate Elementary School, Edmonds, WA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
It started with eggs-nine-year-old David on his way to an Easter egg hunt with his grandmother, 13-year-old Primrose living in an old Dodge van egged by local teenagers. And it ends, almost, with a sunrise "beautiful and smooth as a painted egg." In between, it's the story of a boy who has lost his mother and wants her back, and a girl who has a mother and moves out to get away from her. Together, they build a friendship watching late shows on TV, picking through trash, dining at Dunkin' Donuts, hanging out with Refrigerator John and running away to Philadelphia. With strong characterization of major and minor characters and a light, poetic touch, Spinelli deftly handles themes of friendship, family, loss and resilience in a story that will long linger in the hearts of readers. Elegant and memorable. (Fiction. 8-12)