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Look Out for the Fitzgerald-Trouts (Fitzgerald-Trouts Series #1)

Look Out for the Fitzgerald-Trouts (Fitzgerald-Trouts Series #1)

by Esta Spalding

Narrated by Caitlin Kelly

Unabridged — 4 hours, 20 minutes

Esta Spalding

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Kim Fitzgerald-Trout took to driving with ease—as most children would if their parents would ever let them try. She had to. After all, she and her siblings live in a car.

Meet the Fitzgerald-Trouts, a band of four loosely related children living together in a lush tropical island. They take care of themselves. They sleep in their car, bathe in the ocean, eat fish they catch and fruit they pick, and can drive anywhere they need to go—to the school, the laundromat, or the drive-in. If they put their minds to it, the Fitzgerald-Trouts can do anything. Even, they hope, find a real home.

Award-winning poet and screenwriter Esta Spalding's exciting middle grade debut establishes a marvelous place where children fend for themselves, and adults only seem to ruin everything.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"These kids are witty, full of heart and genuinely fun to read about."—The New York Times Book Review

"Have you ever wanted to live on an island filled with selfish grownups and blood-sucking iguanas hiding in a dark and mysterious forest? Me neither. But the brave and inventive Fitzgerald-Trouts have such fascinating lives that I just might reconsider—as soon as I read this glorious book again, at least twice. I salute thee, Fitzgerald-Trouts!"
Lemony Snicket, author of the bestselling series A Series of Unfortunate Events and All the Wrong Questions

"Spalding's playful tone takes the edge off the neglectful parents and dire circumstances, largely thanks to the plucky, self-reliant kids who know (rightly) they are better off on their own."—Booklist

"The Boxcar Children meet Dahl in a Hawaii-like setting here and it's all sorts of fun, with just enough snarkiness to add edge to the charm and wonder. A clever but subtle twist at the end adds even more amusement, and the overall effect is as pleasing as a tropical breeze."—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

School Library Journal

Gr 4–6—Author and screenwriter Spalding ventures for the first time into middle grade literature with this tale of a hodgepodge family of kids (think the Boxcar Children) thrown together by a mix of DNA, circumstance, and absentee parents. The Fitzgerald-Trouts, led by oldest sibling Kim, start life with daily lists—at the top, finding a house. The siblings live in a car and occasionally get grocery and gas money from an assorted set of oddball parents (none of whom want to actually care for the kids full-time). Despite the sad circumstances, the kids are cheerful and the novel is amusing. Kim is warmhearted and motivated, and readers will root for the spunky youngsters. Upper-elementary and lower-middle school readers will relate to the kids' simple desires for a normal life, complete with goldfish in bowls and room to sleep. VERDICT Recommended for most middle grade collections, especially where light humor is needed.—Sarah Knutson, American Canyon Middle School, CA

Kirkus Reviews

Four children of complicated parentage live in a car on a tropical island and hunt for a place to call home. Kim, the oldest at 11, and Kimo, Toby, and Pippa have lived in the car since Kim was in first grade. Dr. Fitzgerald, father of all but Kimo, moved them into it to facilitate their work as his forced research assistants. After teaching Kim to drive—cans taped to her shoes help her reach the pedals—he abandoned them. They're relieved he's gone. Days, they attend school; nights, they sleep in the car, parked at the beach. The forest harboring deadly, blood-sucking iguanas excepted, the island's a stereotypical tourist destination. The boys' mother, Tina, a vain, selfish country singer, drops off money occasionally; the girls' mother, Maya, a miserly, crooked stockbroker, gives less. The children view both with mild dislike. Harsh circumstances and their own lack of affect make the children's adventures more grueling than enjoyable, more improbable than imaginative. Child abandonment, homelessness, and cruelty are portrayed as trivial yet rendered in fairly realistic detail by a Dahl-esque narrator whose whimsical tone is out of step with events. Misplaced humor, often adult-oriented, leaves a sour aftertaste, as when, played for laughs, Maya's sent to jail. The plot feels at war with itself, fantasy clashing with realism unsuccessfully. Here's hoping subsequent volumes find a better balance. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Product Details

BN ID: 2940170349883
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Publication date: 12/22/2020
Series: Fitzgerald-Trouts Series , #1
Edition description: Unabridged
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

Customer Reviews