Synopses & Reviews
Welcome to Hokey Pokey. A place and a time, when childhood is at its best: games to play, bikes to ride, experiences to be had. There are no adults in Hokey Pokey, just kids, and the laws governing Hokey Pokey are simple and finite. But when one of the biggest kids, Jack, has his beloved bike stolen — and by a girl, no less — his entire world, and the world of Hokey Pokey, turns to chaos. Without his bike, Jack feels like everything has started to go wrong. He feels different, not like himself, and he knows something is about to change. And even more troubling he alone hears a faint train whistle. But that's impossible: every kid knows there no trains in Hokey Pokey, only tracks.
Master storyteller Jerry Spinelli has written a dizzingly inventive fable of growing up and letting go, of leaving childhood and its imagination play behind for the more dazzling adventures of adolescence, and of learning to accept not only the sunny part of day, but the unwelcome arrival of night, as well.
"Spinelli (Jake and Lily) creates a surreal landscape reminiscent of J.M. Barrie's Never Land in this poignant celebration of childhood exuberance. Don't bother looking for adults in Hokey Pokey, where boys and girls dine on flavored ice and spend their days watching cartoons, playing cowboy games, and using their bicycles as trusty steeds. Jack's bike, Scramjet, is the most coveted of all, and one day it's stolen by his archenemy, Jubilee. This marks the first of a series of unsettling events that give Jack, a boy on the brink of adolescence, the eerie impression that 'things have shifted.' It isn't just that his tattoo, the mark of all residents, is fading; something deep inside him is pulling him away from familiar landmarks, friends, enemies, and routines. Spinelli's story will set imaginations spinning and keep readers guessing about Jack's fate and what Hokey Pokey is all about (so to speak). The ending is both inevitable and a risk (it invokes one of the more clichéd tropes in literature and film), but Spinelli's dizzying portrait of life in Hokey Pokey will keep readers rapt. Ages 10 – up." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"A masterful, bittersweet recognition of coming-of-age." Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
"This unforgettable coming-of-age story will resonate with tween readers and take its rightful place beside the author's Maniac Magee and Louis Sachar's Holes." School Library Journal, Starred Review
About the Author
Jerry Spinelli is the author of many books for young readers, including Stargirl; Love, Stargirl; Milkweed; Crash; Wringer; Maniac Magee, winner of the Newbery Medal; and Knots in My Yo-Yo String, his autobiography. A graduate of Gettysburg College, he lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, poet and author Eileen Spinelli.