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Author: Avi

Illustrator: Brian Floca

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Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Field of Dreams meets The Godfather — squirrel style! Or rat style depending on whose side you’re on. Who knew so much could happen when you wander the neighborhood? Oscar Westerwit is setting up the big game and his star player is missing. Big Daddy Duds (the mob boss) is involved! Big Daddy Duds’ daughter Maud goes missing thanks to his second-hand man! Along the way, Oscar meets her, falls in love, and has to go to war against he dad to save his home, his neighborhood, and his heart. In the end, good wins over evil with Maud’s unexpected assistance. Squirrels and rats take on New-York-sized roles to keep this chapter book moving!

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, independent reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 9 to 13; read yourself: 9 and up

Interest Level: 9 and up

Reading Level: 4.1

Age of Child: Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™

Young Reader Reaction: The sounds of a heavy Brooklyn accent jump right off the page. You can't help but sound (in your head) like a New Yorker from the 1920s as you read this book. The language made it all the more fun. I didn’t think it was necessary to have a narrator, but I enjoyed his narration all the same. I liked that a quiet, competent, thinker like Maud ended up saving the day using a skill she didn’t care for to help those for whom she did. I think Avi’s books are better in groups, because once you read one you’ll want to read similar ones.

Adult Reader Reaction: Review pending.

Pros: The funny story, mystery, and New York accents will have readers of all ages turning the page!

Cons: None. Parents may want to note that it does mention guns and other criminal and violent acts.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. Avi books are always great to read and go back to again and again. I originally read this in elementary school but then again in middle school.

If You Liked This Book, Try: The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo ; The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett; A Ratís Tale by Tor Siedler CRISPIN: The End of Time   FOOTBALL HERO   NUTS

Educational Themes: This is a book meant for fun reading.

Notes: A volunteer submitted this review. The book is in their personal library.

Literary Categories: Fiction - animal fantasy, middle grade, mystery, humor

Date(s) Reviewed: March 2012

Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at and


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