Hippomobile!

Book Information
Rating: Significant Shortcomings
Reading/Interest Level: Primary, Intermediate
Author: Jeff Tapia
Publisher: Clarion Books
Year: 2013
ISBN: 9780547995489
Pages: 240

Jimmy and Stella are the only kids in their little town of Wymore. They have forty-seven grandmas and grandpas in this retirement community, and are perfectly happy in their slow, quiet lives. However, when the grandma the runs the restaurant says that she’s going to have to close it because she doesn’t get enough customers, the twins are determined to find a way to save their little town. The answer to getting more people in the town seems to be centered around the town’s treasure, a broken hippomobile with a fascinating past. If Jimmy and Stella can find a way to make it work again, maybe they won’t have to leave Wymore after all.

In some ways, the book is charming, but it doesn’t meet the needs of its intended audience. The plot is too simple for an older audience, but the vocabulary is too complex for younger audiences, especially reluctant readers. While the diner slang and the other vocabulary is fun for older readers, younger readers are likely to get frustrated with having to use footnotes or not understand some of the nonstandard English phrases. The idea is fun and the characters are entertaining, but the vocabulary and plot complexity make it hard to find readers who will enjoy the book to its full extent.