Friday, April 18, 2014


Tapia, Jeff.  Hippomobile!    Houghton Mifflin/Clarion  2013  227p  $16.99  ISBN 978-0-547-99548-9  elem/ms Historical fiction     VG        

Jimmy and Stella are ten-year-old twins who live in Wymore, which seems to be in Texas.  The town is dying.  With their mom and dad out of town working in the summer, the twins are supervised by forty-seven elders whom they call Grandmas and Grandpas.  When the twins hear that the cafe will close at the end of summer, which will cause the town to completely shut down, they devise a plan.  Generations ago a young immigrant entrepreneur built a shoe factory and an early automobile called the Hippomobile.  If the town can get the machine moving again, they can attract tourists and save the town.
The story is endearing and funny, but some students will be turned off by the overuse of cutesy expressions and dialect.  On some pages there are four or five footnotes to explain certain expressions.  They may add color and thus enhance the story, but the number of these expressions used became a nuisanse to this reader.  Otherwise it is a great story for grades 4-7.           

Summary: Ten-year-old twins live in a small town that is dying out.  This is fine with them, but they devise a plan when they hear the town will close and they will have to move to a city.  It’s a fun read, but the use of dialect may turn off some students. Grades 4-7.   

Families-Fiction, Entrepreneurs-Fiction                     --Joan Theal

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