(Michael di Capua Books, Oct. 1, 2011)
Caldecott Medalist Chris Raschka makes his dazzling debut as a fiction writer Now that the whole thing is over (and we all survived!), I can tell you what happened. Picture this for a second. Rock wall six inches on my left. Sheer cliff hundreds of feet down on my right, my best friend Norman in front of me, mumbling something, and my mom behind me saying, "Step, step, step." EEEEEEYAAAAAH! Next time my mom bugs me about sitting in front of the computer too much, I'm going to say, "Thanks, I prefer it where the near-death experiences are virtual!" No, seriously, this story is about Norman and about how he grows and learns stuff. Uses his imagination. Observes things. Like his dad, who is so devoted to . . . money! Like how his dad is mixed up with weird creeps of the underworld. All over the world! Why, why are grown-ups so insane? That's exactly the question that Norman, Anna and Emma (the twins), and I, Leonard, try to answer. And with the help of Norman's new tutor, Balthazar Birdsong (also fairly nuts), we nearly do it, too.