Synopses & Reviews
In Iowa circa 1929, spunky twelve-year-old Tugs vows to turn her familys luck around, with the help of a Brownie camera and a small-town mystery.
Tugs Esther Button was born to a luckless family. Buttons dont presume to be singers or dancers. They arent athletes or artists, good listeners, or model citizens. The one time a Button ever made the late Goodhue Gazette - before Harvey Moore came along with his talk of launching a new paper - was when Great Grandaddy Ike accidentally set Town Hall ablaze. Tomboy Tugs looks at her hapless family and sees her own reflection looking back until she befriends popular Aggie Millhouse, wins a new camera in the Independence Day raffle, and stumbles into a mystery only she can solve. Suddenly this is a summer of change - and by its end, being a Button may just turn out to be what one clumsy, funny, spirited, and very observant young heroine decides to make of it.
"Ylvisaker sets her agreeable story of the summer of 1929, when life begins to change for ungainly 12-year-old Tugs Button, in the small town of Goodhue, Iowa. Born into a downtrodden family that 'considered victory, even for one's affiliated party in national politics, showing off,' good-natured, plainspoken Tugs is accustomed to being called names like 'rapscallion' and 'know-it-all.' But when wealthy Aggie Millhouse asks to run the three-legged race with her at the Independence Day picnic and they win, Tugs begins to question whether she might be able to break out of the Buttons' tradition of bad luck. After she also wins the patriotic essay contest and a Kodak camera, she declares, 'I'm going to go on being lucky,' to the horrified Button clan. As Ylvisaker builds an increasingly suspenseful tale revolving around a dapper, silver-tongued newcomer with plans for starting a newspaper with citizens' money (think The Music Man), she presents a multitude of somewhat stereotypical characters who can be hard to keep track of, but succeeds in her portrayal of a cozy, close-knit community. Ages 8 12. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWxyz LLC)
About the Author
Anne Ylvisaker is the author of Dear Papa, which Booklist named a Top Ten Youth First Novel, and Little Klein, a Book Sense Pick and winner of numerous awards. Formerly of Iowa and Minnesota, Anne Ylvisaker now lives in California.