Subscribe to The Horn Book

Review of Look Out for the Fitzgerald-Trouts

spalding_look out for the fitzgerald troutsLook Out for the Fitzgerald-Trouts
by Esta Spalding; illus. by Sydney Smith
Intermediate    Little, Brown    245 pp.
5/16    978-0-316-29858-2    $16.99
e-book ed.  978-0-316-29859-9    $9.99    g

Kim, a highly capable eleven-year-old, lives with her three younger siblings (and a goldfish) in a small green car. They attend school, do errands, play board games, drive to the laundromat, and have a huge amount of fun on their Hawaii-like island. Orphans? No, they actually have four (or possibly five) parents among them, but all the adults, including a criminal stockbroker and a country singer, are complete washouts. Whatever. That isn’t a problem for this breezy, self-reliant bunch. The problem 
is that the kids are getting bigger and outgrowing their accommodation. They decide they need a proper house and put their combined ingenuity into the search. Overnighting in MARRA (read: IKEA) is fun, but temporary. Finally, Kim gets desperate and takes them all on a hair-raising car trip through the terrifying Sakahatchi Forest (with its attack iguanas) to the other side of the island, where they discover a new baby, important facts about aliens and the makeup of their family, a previously concealed first-person narrator, and their forever home. A touch of Everything on a Waffle (rev. 5/01) weirdness; a touch of The Willoughbys (rev. 3/08) sendup; and a warm, genial, wholly original voice. The use of blue type throughout is distracting, but the occasional illustrations by Smith (Sidewalk Flowers, rev. 5/15) enhance setting, character, and mood.

From the July/August 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

About Sarah Ellis

Sarah Ellis is a Vancouver-based writer and critic, recently retired from the faculty of The Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Share
Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind

*