Author: Louis Sachar
Publishing information: Yearling, 2000, 9-12
Number of Pages: 272
Genre: Modern Fantasy
This book covers 3 stories. The first is Stanley at Camp Green Lake and his new friend Zero. The second story is of Kissin’ Kate Barlow aka Miss Kate, who lived in the town 110 years before Camp Green Lake. The Third story is of Stanley’s No-Good-Dirty-Rotten-Pig-Stealing-Great-Great-Grandpa.
Kate is a nice, loving teacher, who loves to make spice peaches. She develops feeling for Sam, a black onion farmer. One night they kiss, but its back news for Sam. The Mayor’s son (who ends up being the Warden’s Grandfather) finds out and kills Sam. Miss Kate goes bad and becomes Kissin’ Kate Barlow, becoming one of the biggest outlaws in the West. She even runs into Stanley Yelnats, the first, who after making millions and heading to California, she hijacks his money. At the end of her life she returns to the Green Lake area and buries her money. Leaving the Mayor of Green Lake and his family to digging for it.
Elya is Stanley’s Great-great grandfather. Back in Latvia he falls in love with a girl, but to marry her he must produce a fat pig. He goes to the gypsy, Madam Zeroni, who tells him to carry a pig up a mount, let it drink from the water and sing to it, and then he has to carry Madam Zeroni up the mountain too. But the pig ends up being too small and angry Elya leave for America, and madam Zeroni Curses Elya with bad luck.
Back at Camp Green Lake Stanley is fitting in with the boys for the first time. He helps Zero learn how to read. When he finds something interesting to show to the Warden, X-ray demands that he gets it because he has been at the camp longer. The whole camp is put on the same digging job, but nothing is found. With the tension building in camp, Zero runs away and Stanley goes after him. Living out in desert Zero lives off of old canned peaches. Stanley carries him up a mountain and gets him to water. The Onions they eat from the area protect them from the Yellow spotted lizards. Feeling lucky for the first time Stanley and Zero head back to Camp Green Lake and dig up Kissin’ Kate’s treasure. Stanley’s Lawyer shows up to take him home. In the end everyone gets what they deserve.
Your Reaction to the book: This was a fun book with the flash backs and how everything fit together. I really like it when an author only adds things to his books that enrich them. Louis Sachar does an exultant job at putting in just the right information to keep the reader interested
Potential Problems: Sachar portrays adults as the bad guys. They are unapproachable and they are not really trying to help the kids.
Recommendations: Someone who is looking for something different and interesting.