Thursday, January 29, 2015

If You Find This by Matthew Baker

Nicholas is not a normal boy.  He's a math whiz who also has a musical talent but he's not a big people person.  I mean, how many people do you know who eat their lunch in a stall in the bathroom?  That's not normal!

Little Brown Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 17th, so watch for it.

Nicholas' father lost his job and has had to move to where he can find work.  His mother works, too, but can't afford the house payment.  She tells him they will have to sell it and move to something cheaper.  Nicholas is devastated!  His little brother was born prematurely and didn't make it.  They planted a tree in the backyard in his memory.  He talks to the tree with his music and his brother talks back to him with his leaves.  He can't leave him...

When he comes home one day and finds a strange man in the house, his mother tells him that's his grandfather on her side.  He confronts her with the statement:  "You said he was dead!"  Yes, she had.  He was in prison, she doubted he'd ever get out so it was easier to say he was dead than go through why he was in prison.

Grandfather's mind is going but he remembers having heirlooms from his family and he wants to find them to help with the house.  Nicholas is willing to help but Grandpa doesn't know where he hid them.

Here's the part that is really amusing:  Nicholas kidnaps his Grandpa from the nursing home and when he looks behind, there's another old man and grandson right behind them.  They go to the Ghost House, which is where Grandpa used to live long ago.  Before long, there's another kid involved.  They get involved with older bullies, the Grandpa's live in the old broken down house and eat canned peas (ugh!) and the search for the heirlooms commences.

It's a bit scary, a bit funny, a bit odd, and Nicholas gets his first kiss.  There's a lot in this book that could lead to other discussion with your child.  Each boy has his own problems.  Talking about what they are and how they dealt with them might lead to more discussion about other problems or offer solutions to similar situations in your child's life.

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