In suitably off-kilter fashion, this fourth installment in what had been previously called a trilogy finds the hyperactive hero reunited with Carter Pigza, his "no-good squinty-eyed bad dad." Having won a small fortune in the lottery, Carter's back to reclaim his role as family man. The hilarious "rewedding" vows-his "I forgive you for all the times you called me a lifelong loser" begets wife Fran's "I forgive you for trying to run me over with your motorcycle"-establish the theme for this episode in Joey's chaotic childhood: How do you forgive people for being who they are? Especially when who they are is an incredibly lousy parent? Carter, like Joey, is not a man of small gestures; in wiping the slate clean, he changes their names to Charles, Maria and Freddy Heinz, and moves the family to the country where he has bought a roadside diner to renovate and open as The Beehive. Naturally, things do not go according to plan. In one scene, Joey/Freddy plays in traffic in a bee costume to publicize the new restaurant and winds up in police custody. As in the other Joey Pigza books, the plot doesn't move so much as careen from one over-the-top event to the next, the achievement being that every one of them feels entirely plausible. Gantos exercises complete command of his subject-so thoroughly inside the dented head of his character that readers easily suspend disbelief. Another wild ride-over serious terrain. Ages 10-up. (Aug.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Lovable Joey Pigza is back-or is he really Freddie Heinz? As Joey continues to struggle with his impulses and getting his life under control, he realizes that his mother has a new man in her life when all new furniture suddenly appears in their house. When Joey learns this "new" man is his father, sporting a different name and new attitude after winning a lottery, he is understandably suspicious. But his mother embraces this changed man who now calls himself Charles Heinz and renames her, Joey, and even the dogs as a means of getting a fresh start. The parents remarry and prepare to open a diner, which his father assures them is only the beginning of amazing prosperity. Still struggling about letting go of his Joey-self to become Freddie, Joey learns to cook and shoot paintball because his parents keep him out of school. His pregnant mother frenetically shops while his father maniacally schemes to find more winning lottery numbers. When his mother gives early birth to her new son, Joey's dad once again runs, leaving Joey to contemplate the power of forgiveness. Joey's character continues to evolve in this fourth book. Despite his father's attempt to sabotage his tenuous stability by temporarily taking his med patch away, putting an all-terrain vehicle and a paintball gun in his hands, and keeping him out of school, Joey steadfastly remains on his path of self-knowledge, while his mom and dad continue to be poster-parents for dysfunctional family models. Junior high students as well as teachers who are fans of Joey will laugh and shake their heads over this latest fast-paced installment of his tale.
Gr 5-7 -In this latest installment (Farrar, Strauss 2007) in the series by Jack Gantos, Joey Pigza's life is turned upside down when his father comes back into the picture claiming to be a changed man, with a new name-Charles Heinz. Joey's dad recently won the lottery and is trying to use this new good karma to convince Joey and his mom to join him and become the Heinz family. With a series of humorous and poignant moments, Joey struggles with his new identity as Freddy Heinz, while trying to forgive his father for his past. Gantos treats listeners to a spot-on performance of Joey's scattered and adventurous life. The charming and, at times, whining tones of Gantosa' vocal patterns are perfect for the spunky Joey, while at the same time clearly conveying the more adult voices in Joey's world. The pacing of the audio is consistently swift, keeping up with Joey's antics and his dad's sometimes maniacal scheming to gain more good karma, while frantically trying to select more winning lottery numbers rather than actually having to work. This enjoyable audiobook sill be a treat for school and public libraries.-Stephanie A. Squicciarini, Fairport Public Library, NY Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Joey's father, Carter Pigza, is back in Joey's life. He's a new man with a new plan, even a new name: Charles Heinz, lottery winner and entrepreneur. Mrs. Pigza is now "Maria," not Fran, and Joey is "Freddy." New names, new identities, a chance to jettison the past and start over. But as craziness unfolds, Joey/Freddy begins to realize that "once you give up who you are, you can become anybody," but then how do you ever know who you really are? As Fran says, Maria was starting to feel "like a guest who wouldn't leave," and to Joey, "Freddy" is feeling like a lunatic. "I'm going crazy from not knowing who I am," he says. With this fourth installment in the series, Gantos offers it all: outrageous schemes, funny scenes, strong voice, dramatic characters and profound reflections on identity, family and love. It stands well on its own, though anyone new to Joey's saga will want to read more. This is Gantos at his best, and that's saying a lot. (Fiction. 10+)
Delightful.” People magazine
“* Life becomes even more complicated for the wired sixth grader . . . hilarious. ” Booklist, starred review
“* Stands well on its own, though anyone new to Joey's saga will want to read more. This is Gantos at his best, and that's saying a lot. ” Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“* Another wild rideover serious terrain.” Publishers Weekly, starred review
“* Gantos tells the tale with unfailing humor, delicious wordplay, and many hilarious scenes. ” School Library Journal, starred review
“Joey steadfastly remains on his path of self-knowledge.” VOYA
“Gantos is wise and subtle in his exploration of his hero's identity dilemma.” The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
“Readers will admire Joey's genuine desire to make his parents proud and laugh at his zany perspectives.” IRA
“Middle grade readers who know Joey will be happy to see his return.” TeenReadsToo.com
“A great continuation of the Pigza saga.” Kathy Taber, Kids Ink Children's Bookstore, Indianapolis, IN