- Fort by Cynthia Defelice
ISBN 978-0-374-32427-8 $16.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 4-5
Wyatt and Augie are summer friends, and this year they slip once again into a comfortable routine of dispatching their chores and family obligations in order to spend every possible moment hanging out and doing whatever comes to mind. With summer hours ticking away, the push is on to build that fort they’ve been planning. There’s a perfect spot in the woods behind the junkyard where Augie’s great uncle, “Unk,” hangs out with his own best buddy, Al. There are generous contributions of lumber, paint, metal sheeting, and homemade cookies from the relatives. Best of all, there’s permission from both families for the eleven-year-olds to sleep overnight in the fort, hunting for squirrel, fishing, and supplementing their catch with whatever they can plunder from their household pantries. Unfortunately, there is also a pair of local bullies, J. R. and Morrie, who have been causing plenty of trouble and laying the blame on Gerard, a slow-witted and friendless sixteen-year-old. Now they turn their unwelcome attention to Wyatt and Augie, who team up with Gerard for an overnight at the fort, carefully planned to lure the bullies into ingenious booby traps for a well-deserved comeuppance. Middle-grade kids chafing under parental restraint and supervised playdates will latch right on to this affable exercise in wish fulfillment. Wyatt and Augie aren’t quite independent, but they are resourceful; they aren’t do-gooders, but they do right by Gerard; they aren’t fearless, but they’re brave enough to confront the bullies and take their licks. Mostly, they are tight pals, and readers will delight at being let in on their friendship.