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With a gentleness of wit, emotion and spot-on humor, Schmidt brings to life 6th grader Carter Jones as he navigates a tough time in his life, with the help of one Mr. Bowles-Fitzpatrick, who drives an eggplant-hued Bentley and gives advice, both needed and not wanted, as the Jones' family new butler. Interspersed with cricket references - "the finest game in the world" - wonderful and enlightened vocabulary fit for a proper gentleman, Schmidt tackles grief and abandonment with his signature insight, lightness and heart. As the butler says to his charges "make good decisions and remember who you are" -- Carter Jones' story will stay with you for a very long time. Highly recommended!
— From Staff Picks by Maureen
Carter Jones is astonished early one morning when he finds a real English butler, bowler hat and all, on the doorstep—one who stays to help the Jones family, which is a little bit broken.
In addition to figuring out middle school, Carter has to adjust to the unwelcome presence of this new know-it-all adult in his life and navigate the butler's notions of decorum. And ultimately, when his burden of grief and anger from the past can no longer be ignored, Carter learns that a burden becomes lighter when it is shared.
Sparkling with humor, this insightful and compassionate story will resonate with readers who have confronted secrets of their own.
About the Author
Gary D. Schmidt is the best-selling author of many books for young readers, including the Newbery Honor and Printz Honor book Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy and the Newbery Honor book The Wednesday Wars. He is a professor of English at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
* "Schmidt gracefully weaves together the humor of school, siblings, and a dachshund with a delicate digestive system with deeper themes of family connection, disappointment, anger, and grief. The result is wonderfully impressive and layered."--Kirkus, starred review
* "Schmidt, author of the celebrated Wednesday Wars, strikes gold again with this emotionally complex character who learns to navigate change and disappointment, and, more important, how to receive help."--School Library Journal, starred review
* "Deft incorporation of comedic scenes and Schmidt’s trademark use of narrator-provided snark give the story the levity it needs . . . By the novel’s conclusion — by which time Carter’s whole school is obsessed with [cricket] — readers will be cheering on each 'over' and every 'wicket.'—Horn Book, starred review
* "Schmidt fuses pathos and humor in this adroitly layered novel. . . . Schmidt weaves [cricket's] jargon into the narrative, further enriching the verbal badinage and reinforcing the affecting bond between a hurting boy and a compassionate man." —Publishers Weekly, starred review