I was recently handed a copy of Tricia Springstuff's What Happened on Fox Street, which was summed up as "the blue-collar Penderwicks." This is certainly the quickest way of describing Springstuff's book, but I don't think it will take long to become known by it's own name; What Happened on Fox Street is going to go places. At least, copies of this book are going to fly from person to person.
Mo and her younger sister live on Fox Street with their dad. Mo defines her life by Fox Street, she knows the neighbors, the rythms of the neighborhood, and the memories people have of her mother. Each summer her best friend Mercedes visits her grandmother, Da, on Fox Street. But this summer, things are changing. Da is getting old and can't care for herself, Mercedes has brand new clothes and a new stepfather, and a developer is trying to by up all the houses on the street. It's a turbulent summer for Mo, full of adventures, new experiences, and change. Through the good, the bad and the downright difficult, one thing sustains Mo- the possibility of someday seeing a real fox on Fox Street.
This is a wonderful middle grade novel. Though firmly planted in the realm of realistic fiction, Mo experiences moments of real-life wonder and awe that feel truly magical. Yes, Mo faces difficult situations, such as moving, taking care of her younger sister, and trying to be a good friend, but she emerges with bits of wisdom and a changed view of the world. Mo's realizations will make you cry or look at the world through new eyes. All in all, you will be changed for the better by What Happened on Fox Street.
Published by HarperCollins, to be released August 24, 2010