Books Completed: 59
Completion Date: February, 2009
Publication Date: August 2, 2001
Reason for Reading: 2nd Canadian Challenge
Eleven-year-old Robert is the only one who can help when a mysterious stranger arrives, performing tricks and promising to bring rain, at the same time children begin to disappear from a dust bowl farm town in Saskatchewan in the 1930s.I first read Arthur Slade last year when I read the fantastic Jolted. I honestly love that book to death, and that is very high praise from me in terms of a young adult novel! I have read more this year than normal, but mostly because I won't buy them generally and I am addicted to putting books on hold at the library! Arthur Slade, though, is a young adult novelist that I am not afraid to tell everyone that they should read! Jolted was better, for me, than this book, but I still really liked this experience. Slade is just a fun author. His ideas are fresh and original. It has been a joy so far to sit down with one of his books. Once my library pile is not quite so scary I plan to read more from him.
When we are children we are told over and over again to not talk to strangers. Robert and his little brother are probably told the same, but sometimes you forget your parents' words when faced with the situation. This happens to seven-year-old Matthew. He has finally been trusted to walk to town on his own. He meets a stranger along the way and his parents are faced with the very serious situation of not knowing what happens to him. Robert is different, though. He is able to see through all the situations that are thrown his way during the course of the novel. The town is desperate. They have been living with a drought for quite sometime and are desperate for water to feed their dwindling groups, so when a man appears with his fancy words and technology that could save the town, they are quickly bought into the scheme.
Not a very long book, but another example of why Slade is such a great Canadian young adult author. He takes a very believable situation and throws in the unbelievable. This mysterious stranger is not at all what he seems, but Robert seems to be one of few people that can figure this out. Throw in a rain machine and some butterflies and you have what could be a very illogical novel. Slade makes it all come together, though!