The Universe of Fair

illus. by Frank W. Dormer. 253p. CIP. Peachtree. 2012. Tr $15.95. ISBN 978-1-561456345. LC 2011020974.
Gr 4–7—Miller's family is deeply entrenched in the annual town fair, and Miller has been planning and saving for months for a day of games and rides and fair food while his parents volunteer at events. The 11-year-old has always been under vigilant adult supervision, and this year, he fervently hopes to have some freedom to explore. However, he inadvertently feeds his dad's entry for the pie contest to his sister and friends, his mother has a work emergency that forces his dad to double up on his duties, and Miller finds himself babysitting his sister and two other children. He takes them all to the fair, hoping for some windows for fun and quickly learns what is involved in being responsible for the safety of three active youngsters. Thankfully, his sudden experience with responsibility reaps him some rewards in the end. Dormer's occasional drawings add a sense of quirky humor to the story. Bulion's book is simply told, in realistic kid language. The author has a sense of how a child thinks and processes the world, and this insight comes across clearly in her story. Readers get a detailed view into a typical day at the fair-the sights, the sounds, the smells. The book is not filled with daring adventures, faraway lands, or animals in clothes, but it is a bird's-eye view into the experience of being an 11-year-old.Corrina Austin, Locke's Public School, St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada

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