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*The Hole in the Wall* by Lisa Rowe Fraustino - middle grades nonfiction book review
The Hole in the Wall
by Lisa Rowe Fraustino
Grades 4-8 280 pages Milkweed Editions November 2010 Hardcover    

Zebís world consists of his mother and father, his sister, Barbie, and missing brother Jed.

Once his dad becomes an unemployed, stay-at-home father, Zeb learns it is better to avoid contact with him. His temperament is totally unpredictable, somewhat like the supernatural colors Zeb sees in the stones that are in his secret cave that he calls his ďhole in the wall.Ē

The landscape around Zebís home was once filled with trees and flowers, but now it is just cliffs and caverns that have been created by Boots Odum in his quest to create a fortune. When Bootsí exploration and absorption of local businesses begins to threaten their family home, Zebís mother goes to work and Zebís grandmother moves in with them.

On the side, the family raises chickens and sells the eggs to the shopkeepers in the town. When Zeb gathers the eggs and notices the changes - then discovers petrified chickens - he and Barbie begin to explore the hidden caverns around their home for answers.

There are subtle lessons to be learned here about taking care of the natural world or losing it altogether. The author has created a supernatural tale that brings with it family conflict, sibling rivalry, stereotypes and character building.

Earning the Milkweed Prize for Literature, The Hole in the Wall will be a popular title for tweens and young teens and will introduce a new author to this age group. Ms. Fraustino also has picture books and anthologies listed among her credits.
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