Ms. Yingling's Reviews > The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester

The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester by Barbara O'Connor
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Jan 18, 2012

really liked it
Read in January, 2012

O’Connor, Barbara. The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester.
Owen doesn’t like living with his ill grandfather, his pushy housekeeper, and his out-of-work father in rural Georgia, but there are some advantages. There’s lots to do outside, and he has finally captured an enormous frog, whom he has named Tooley. He and his friend Travis, along with bossy neighbor Viola, build a large cage for Tooley, but the frog still does not look happy. Another summer project is locating a box that fell off a train, which turns out to contain a miniature submarine! It’s not easy to get the sub to the pond, but with Viola and Travis’ help, the children manage to get it there, read the instructions, and take it for a spin around the pond before being discovered. Owen realizes that Viola is right, and his frog would be happier in the wild, and that perhaps catching him accomplished what Owen really needed.
Strengths: This reminded me of things like Homer Price and Henry Reed-- a group of well-meaning kids getting into a little bit of trouble while having adventures. Fast-paced and written in an engaging way, this was a pleasantly quick read.
Weaknesses: A bit too young for my students. Hard to explain, but Owen concerns were really close to home, and middle school concerns encompass a little more.
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Tricia Don't forget Stumpy! (The 4th kid, who mostly just repeats what Travis has to say, but helps considerably :-)


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