By MJ Auch
(Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), Hardcover, 9780805075311, 240pp.)
Publication Date: April 14, 2005
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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"Grady, can you pick up that wing nut for me?"
"The wing nut I just dropped. It has two little projections on it that look like wings. It fell into that patch of grass."
Grady dropped to his knees and felt through the grass until he found it. He couldn't help smiling about the name--wing nut. That was the perfect description of Charlie Fernwald and his crazy attraction to birds.
Sometimes "home" is found where you least expect it
Grady Flood and his mom, Lila, have been on the road ever since Grady's dad died seven years ago. When their old car breaks down, they find themselves stranded in rural Pennsylvania where Lila gets work as a cook and caretaker. There's nothing out of the ordinary in that, unless you factor in her new employer. Eighty-five-year-old Charlie Fernwald, a skilled mechanic and bird enthusiast, is definitely out of the ordinary. In fact, if Grady's not mistaken, Charlie is a certifiable "wing nut." Grady and Lila plan to leave as soon as they have enough money to repair their car. For the time being, Grady figures, he can help Charlie with his birds and maybe even learn how to fix a car engine. But before he can do either, something goes terribly wrong.
In her warm and engaging style, MJ Auch crafts a compelling novel about family, forgiveness, and the true meaning of home.
M.J. Auch is the award-winning author of One-Handed Catch, Guitar Boy and numerous other books for young readers. Books were a part of M.J.’s life from an early age; her mother was a second grade teacher who always made sure there were plenty of books in the house. M.J. now lives on a small farm in upstate NY with her husband and co-illustrator, Herm, and their two dogs, Sophie and Zeke.
“The story of a boy who finally finds a place to call home should resonate deeply.”—Kirkus Reviews “Grady, Charlie, and Lila have sharp edges that reveal their individual personalities. Their emotions are heartfelt, and readers will be encouraged by the hopeful, upbeat ending . . . [A] satisfying story.”—School Library Journal “A spirited, fresh treatment of the familiar plot of a homeless but self-reliant family finding permanence.”—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books “[A] well-told tale.”—Voice of Youth Advocates “What will attract readers like martins to a gourd nest is the author's careful integration of bird lore and the unusual challenges of creating and maintaining a purple martin colony. A good book for reluctant boy readers.”—Booklist