Tuesday, September 07, 2010
The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester (MG)
The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester. Barbara O'Connor. 2010. August 2010. FSG. 176 pages.
Owen Jester tiptoed across the gleaming linoleum floor and slipped the frog into the soup.
While I can't say I loved The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester as much as The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis or Greetings From Nowhere, I still can't say I was disappointed. (I just happen to love, love, love The Small Adventure of Popeye And Elvis. And Greetings from Nowhere has a certain charm to it that made it memorable to me.)
Since moving in with his grandfather, life hasn't been quite the same for Owen Jester. True, he's caught a bullfrog and named him Tooley Graham. (It is this frog who stars in the practical joke of the first sentence. He's hoping to scare Earlene.) True, he loves being able to explore the land around his house--the woods, the pond, around the railroad tracks, etc. And he's even able to still see his best friends--Travis and Stumpy--even if he isn't able to see them as much. But then there's Earlene and Viola. Earlene who keeps house for his grandfather and doesn't put up with nonsense from anyone. Viola who is a bossy, nosy, know-it-all girl living next door. At least, Viola has allergies. Else Owen wouldn't ever be rid of her. Right? Wrong!
Throughout the book, Viola is nagging Owen about Tooley. Telling him again and again how bullfrogs don't want to have names, don't want to be pets, don't want to be kept in cages. How he needs to set Tooley free. How much happier and healthier Tooley will be if he's given his freedom. And Owen tries and tries and tries to ignore Viola. But. That isn't always easy to do. Especially when Tooley starts showing signs of being depressed.
So what is Owen Jester's secret? Well, I think you need to read this one and discover it yourself! I will tell you it has to do with something that has fallen off a train!
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews