River's Dad, Nelson, split from the family when he was 3 years old. He went to get pizza and, poof, he was gone. No goodbyes. No explanation. Just gone. River's mom's uncle moves in with them and provides Rivers with the love of a surrogate father. Rivers is now 9 years old and finishing 4th grade. All is well until his father shows up unannounced at the front door at River's birthday party. Everyone is angry and life gets turned upside down as they try to deal with the long lost father who wants to come home.
This book begins by painting a picture of a loving uncle and happy boy before the tension of dad coming home shatters their calm world. Rivers is a stable, kind boy who invites the entire class to his birthday party and is willing to spend time with an annoying boy in his class, Ethan. This book is a quick read and the father explains that he was away for so long because he became addicted to drugs. I really liked the plot and how the conflicts were handled, but I had issues with some of the minor characters. I wanted to get to know Taylor more and I thought Ethan was mentally handicapped in the beginning and that was why River was being so kind to him. Then I wondered if he was ADHD, but that wasn't the case either. In the end, I just got annoyed with Ethan. I enjoyed how Uncle Daddy would say, "I'm going to cloud up and rain all over you." Wonderful images and word choices. Fun read.
This would be a good read aloud with plenty of heavy topics to discuss.
Reading Level 4.2
:-) :-) :-) 3.5 out of 5 Smileys