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Wing Nut

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  229 ratings  ·  41 reviews
"Grady, can you pick up that wing nut for me?"
"The what?"
"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 at
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Hardcover, 240 pages
Published May 1st 2005 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
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Shannon Hitchcock
In my opinion, the best middle grade novels tell a great story, teach me something that I knew very little about, and have an underlying theme. WING NUT by Mary Jane Auch did all of those things.

Twelve-year-old Grady Flood and his mom, Lila are homeless. When their car breaks down in rural Pennsylvania, Lila accepts a job cooking for an elderly widower.

Old Charlie Fernwald is a skilled mechanic and has a passion for birds, called purple martins. Charlie's home is like a magnet for the birds and
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Melissa Proffitt
This is a sweet, lovely story about people searching for a home--not just a physical place to settle, though that's very important to Grady and his mother Lila, but also the connection between people that makes anyplace home. The relationship between young Grady Flood and old Charlie Fernwald is simply charming, and I love the details about birdwatching and purple martins.
Noah
I like this book because the main character lost his dad 7 years ago just like me. Because Grady and his mom have no money they lose there house. They have to travel place to place because his mom needs to find work but she has little education. She is very good at cooking. They are living in a commune were Grady's mom cooks. The people at the commune use her car and don't take care of it. They decide to leave the commune in Kentucky and can only make it to Pennsylvania before there car brakes d ...more
Ste Ven
I enjoyed this book. It was really realistic as if this story plot can actually happen. This book has a good moral of finding the best out of the worst situations as showed from actions of Lila, Grady's mom. Their teamwork and understanding is special. After Grady's dad died it has just been the two of them, and they've been through a lot. They have been continuously moving as they have never felt like a real home and have always been picked at and look down towards. On their last trip, they pas ...more
Nicole
This book is about the journey of a mother and son on their own trying to find a new home. After his dad died a twelve-year-old boy named, Grady Flood,is living a life that he and his mother hadn't wished for. They go out in look of a new home but their car breaks down and they have no choice but to take it to a mechanic to fix it. Meanwhile their car gets fixed, Grady's mother has to work three jobs and Grady feels as though he's no help to anyone around him. I like this book because it can re ...more
Caden Severs
Dec 23, 2011 Caden Severs marked it as to-read
Wing nut is a book about a mother (Lila) and son ( Grady) and their problems with people and money.. Grady and Lila are always on the move moving from town to town, and when they move they always just drive, never have a place in mind. Well the car they have is a piece of junk and is always getting worked on and fixed with ductape. It finally dies in a small town in pennslyvania. Lila finds a job as a cook at a restaurant and house keeper for an old man who's family wants him to start eating hea ...more
Trish
Very predictable, but a happy read. There were some surprises about what's really going on because the reader is kept in the dark until the moment of pressure release. It's good to not have all the answers, but then again, it makes the level of drama a bit much. I'm splitting hairs, though, it really was a good story.

I liked the analogy between the main character's life and the life of the birds he learned to care for. The funniest part of the book was at the same time we learn the reason for th
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Faith
Ever since Grady's dad died, his mother and him have been traveling place from place. His mother would find a job and get a roof over their heads, but if she got angry at anyone they would leave. Now with a broken car the only job there is, is with an old man named Charlie.

Reasons I like this book-

Reason 1- Grady has a soft heart. He saved the house sparrows, but he didn't realize the trouble this would cause. I have a soft spot for all animals, except snakes.

Reason 2- The characters are very un
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Jean
A young widow, and her son Grady move from place to place to scrape out a living. When their car breaks down Lila finds a job with a cranky old man named Charlie as a cook. Grady becomes Charlie’s companion and learns about purple martins and auto mechanics. But Grady doesn’t understand why Charlie traps and kills the house sparrows that invade his property. He begins setting them free, and then discovers that they have tragically killed Charlie’s favorite purple martin named after his dead wife ...more
Augusta Scattergood
I picked Wing Nut up from the display shelf of my local library's Florida Sunshine Reader Awards and from the beginning I was hooked. A kid, his mom, a hippie commune, an old man, his purple martins- such disparate elements weave into a story that is just plain fun to read. The developing relationship of 12-year-old Grady and what seems to be a grumpy old man is an important element that's never sentimental, often humorous. I just loved the writing, the story, the characters, the title- everythi ...more
Sherrie
9th of 15 books to read this summer for the 6th to 8th grade SSYRA selections. Ever since his father died, Grady and his mom have been wanderers, never putting down roots. A broken down car forces them to stay in a small Pennsylvania town where Grady's mom finds work as a cook/caretaker for an elderly man. The man keeps purple martins (birds) and soon enlists Grady as his reluctant apprentice. This is a quick read, with interesting (if predictable) relationships.
Min Chaiyapatranun
Grady the main character has traveled to many places with his mom ever since his father died when he was very young. They managed to settle in with an old man named charlie who was very into birds and engines. Grady didn't like it there at first, but then as he started to fit in with Charlie he didn't want to leave anymore. Eventually something happened to Charlie's birds which nearly got Grady and his mother kicked out of his place. It was a good book.
Henry
I would compare this book to a value meal. Have you seen the commercial where the guy orders the burger value meal and the clerk behind the counter takes a regular burger and removes the lettuce, tomato, cheese, pickles, etc? It'll due in a pinch but lacks the extra something to make it filling. It was good, but could have been better
Angela
Very short, sweet, innocent read. It kind of had that "Winn-Dixie" feel to it (only-child being raised by single parent because other parent died/ran off; kid and parent move to small town; kid befriends older person). It was definitely different from what I usually read, but it was nice... kind of refreshing.
Sue Black
Grady and his mother move around from place to place after Grady's father's accident which caused his death. No place feels like home until they end up with Charlie. Grady learns a lot about birds, cars, and most importantly how to trust and care about somebody else.
Marie
I have been reading some books to use in the fall at school. This is a delightful tale of a 12 year old Grady, his Mom, and Old Charlie Fernwald. Also you learn fascinating information about purple martins throughout the book. Enjoyable-tender-real-engaging-and much to discuss!
Emma
Sad, sweet, and very bipolar. One minute, everyone is fine and then, BAM! Everyone is yelling and upset and Lila is threatening to leave Charlie and stuff. Then, about 5 pages later, they're all happy and nice. So wierd.
Maddie Corwin
This was an amazing book. I absolutely loved how it's written and how the story unfolds. The characters were very well described. I got a perfect mental picture of how they acted. This is a truly remarkable book.
Louise Jones
Thoroughly enjoyed this story of a boy's dreams answered when he and his mother arrive at the home of an old man named Charlie, who becomes a grandfather figure.
Shannon
Read for a conference. Touching story of boy and older neighbor. Slow moving but offers interseting tibits on birds and migration with online resource guide.
Cole Gritton
I loved it! I never knew there was a bird called a purple martin. Even though this book was fiction, I learned a little about birds.
Hunter Spiffy_Amazing_Supurb
This book is a great book. It's a rollercoaster of differences and yet it all groups together in the end. I HIGHLY reccommed (SP) it.
Bolly
this book was very good, one of my favorites. charlie fernwald to me was a perfect character for the title of this book!! :)
Sitara
i THOUGHT THIS BOOK WAS GOING T BE REALLY GOOD BOOK. THE TRADGEDY WAS NOT VERY SEVERE AS I THOUGHT. THOUGH IT WAS A GOOD BOOK.
Lance
The story of a kid who's dad died and he and his mom have moved all across the country and finally find a place to call home.
Terre
Awesome look at intergenerational relationships and the valuable lessons we can learn from each other.
Jen
A good book. Touching; It made me cry. It all felt a tiny bit predictable, though.
Mariah Stevens
it was an okay book not something that i would want to read again but it was okay.
Car
I liked the flow of the story, and the relationships formed through the characters.
Meg
Even though it has a really weird title I think it is so far a good book!
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charlie fernwald 1 9 Oct 21, 2009 06:18AM  
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Mary Jane (MJ) Auch and Herm Auch are a husband and wife author/illustrator team. MJ started out writing middle grade novels, and had nine of them published before branching out into writing and illustrating picture books. Herm spent forty years as a graphic artist, editorial cartoonist, and digital artist in the newspaper business. Now Herm and MJ co-illustrate their picture books, combining MJ’s ...more
More about M.J. Auch...
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