Yippie-i-oh! Saddle up for the first in a spin-off series starring favorite characters from Kate DiCamillo’s New York Times best-selling Mercy Watson books.
Leroy Ninker has a hat, a lasso, and boots. What he doesn’t have is a horse – until he meets Maybelline, that is, and then it’s love at first sight. Maybelline loves spaghetti and sweet nothings, and she loves Leroy, too. But when Leroy forgets the third and final rule of caring for Maybelline, disaster ensues. Can Leroy wrestle fate to the ground, rescue the horse of his heart, and lasso loneliness for good? Join Leroy, Maybelline, and a cast of familiar characters – Stella, Frank, Mrs. Watson, and everyone’s favorite porcine wonder, Mercy – for some hilarious and heartfelt horsing around on Deckawoo Drive.
About the Author
Kate DiCamillo, the author of six books about Mercy Watson, is the beloved and renowned author of many books for young readers, including Flora&Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures and The Tale of Despereaux, both of which won Newbery Medals. In 2014 she was named the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. She lives in Minneapolis.
Chris Van Dusen is the author-illustrator of The Circus Ship and King Hugo’s Huge Ego, and the illustrator of all six books about Mercy Watson. He lives in Maine.
The theme of hope and belief amid impossible circumstances is a common thread in much of Kate DiCamillo’s writing. In her instant #1 New York Times bestseller The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, a haughty china rabbit undergoes a profound transformation after finding himself facedown on the ocean floor—lost, and waiting to be found. The Tale of Despereaux—the Newbery Medal–winning novel that later inspired an animated adventure from Universal Pictures—stars a tiny mouse with exceptionally large ears who is driven by love to become an unlikely hero. And The Magician’s Elephant, an acclaimed and exquisitely paced fable, dares to ask the question, What if?
Kate DiCamillo’s own journey is something of a dream come true. After moving to Minnesota from Florida in her twenties, homesickness and a bitter winter helped inspire Because of Winn-Dixie—her first published novel, which, remarkably, became a runaway bestseller and snapped up a Newbery Honor. “After the Newbery committee called me, I spent the whole day walking into walls,” she says. “I was stunned. And very, very happy.”
Her second novel, The Tiger Rising, went on to become a National Book Award Finalist. Since then, the master storyteller has written for a wide range of ages. She is the author of six books in the Mercy Watson series of early chapter books, which stars a “porcine wonder” with an obsession for buttered toast. The second book in the series, Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride, was named a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book by the American Library Association in 2007. She is also the co-author of the Bink and Gollie series, which celebrates the tall and short of a marvelous friendship. The first book, Bink&Gollie, was awarded the Theodor Seuss Giesel Award in 2011.
She also wrote a luminous holiday picture book, Great Joy.
Her novel Flora&Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures won the 2014 Newbery Medal. It was released in fall 2013 to great acclaim, including five starred reviews, and was an instant New York Times bestseller. Flora&Ulysses is a laugh-out-loud story filled with eccentric, endearing characters and featuring an exciting new format—a novel interspersed with comic-style graphic sequences and full-page illustrations, all rendered in black and white by up-and-coming artist K. G. Campbell. It was a 2013 Parents’ Choice Gold Award Winner and was chosen by Amazon, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, and Common Sense Media as a Best Book of the Year.
Kate DiCamillo, who was named National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature for 2014–2015, says about stories, “When we read together, we connect. Together, we see the world. Together, we see one another.” Born in Philadelphia, the author lives in Minneapolis, where she faithfully writes two pages a day, five days a week.
Date of Birth:March 25, 1964
Place of Birth:Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Education:B.A. in English, University of Florida at Gainesville, 1987
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I received an eARC copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. Here is my honest review. I was expecting a picture book but this is actually a chapter book with great illustrations. Leroy Ninker is charming. DiCamillo created charming characters and a setting that has a very vintage vibe - making this a winner for me! I see this book as a great read for young readers - perhaps advanced first grade readers and second grade readers. This would also be a fun book to read aloud to students; DiCamillo uses great vocabulary and portrays how there are many words that can be used to describe one thing. I could definitely see using this book to illustrate the power of descriptive words with young writers. This book is listed with a Volume One distinction which makes me believe that there are additional stories to come.
I love this book because I read it many times I love it so much
I saw this on display when I was at the library picking up a hold. I love the Mercy Watson books and was so excited to see this new series. Featuring characters from the Mercy Watson books, this one stars Leroy Ninker who first showed up on Deckawoo Drive as a thief. He now works at a drive-in theatre dreaming of being a cowboy. He's got all the clothes and the lingo, but he's missing one thing, the horse. An adorable, sweet, funny story. I just loved it. This is a step up from the Mercy books, being an early chapter book with b/w illustrations by the same illustrator. The story doesn't feature Mercy and almost entirely takes place away from Deckawoo Drive but at the end Leroy ends up there, meets Mercy and the book ends with that familiar scene of everybody around the breakfast table at the Watson's. Wonderful! I can't wait to see who the next book will feature!
As a teacher of Kindergarten kids, I have read the Mercy Watson books to the kids for years. We have been saying for years that we need a new Mercy Book. Finally we get one. This book is at a higher level reading than the Mercy Watson books, but there are bits of the same story arcs that we are familiar with. The color pictures of the Mercy Watson books have been replaced with black and white images, and they are not as prevalent as we the previous stories. I am really happy with the way this book turned out. It starts a little slow, and it was hard for the kids to get engaged, but by the time we got to the really exciting ending, the kids were riveted. They could not WAIT to hear the end. And what a great end it is. You do not want to miss this one.