At thirteen, twins Florida and Dallas are the oldest kids in the ramshackle Boxton Creek Home for Children, a place where rules are king. The two siblings—daydreamy Dallas and his spitfire of a sister, Florida—have broken all those rules many times, spending untold hours in the damp, dark, cobwebby basement in the “Thinking Corner,” scrubbing floors, peeling potatoes, and pulling weeds. The two are called the Trouble Twins by Mr. and Mrs. Trepid, the venal and larcenous couple who run the orphanage. Dallas and Florida dream about catching a freight train to a friendly, beautiful place that surely must exist somewhere. Twenty miles away, in a lush hidden valley called Ruby Holler, sixty-year-old Sairy and Tiller live in a small cabin with no modern conveniences. Their four kids have grown up and moved away. They take in the twins as foster kids, and give them things the two have never experienced: love, good food, a safe place to be. While the twins think Sairy and Tiller are crazy and plan to run away, the Trepids are waiting for the chance to find and steal Sairy and Tiller’s buried life savings.
This is a quirky, funny character study from an omniscient narrator that gives us a view into all four of the main characters’ personalities, along with some adventure and danger, and the awful, awful Trepids. If your kids don’t know how good they have it, they’ll certainly empathize with and cheer on Dallas and Florida.
Reviewed by JF.
Themes: BROTHERS AND SISTERS. ORPHANS. TRAVEL.
Suggested Ages: 9 and Up