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Author: Anderson, John David
Rion Kwirk comes from a rather odd family. His mother named him and his sisters after her favorite constellations, and his father makes funky-flavored jellybeans for a living. But no one in the family is more odd than Rion's grandfather, Papa Kwirk, who shows up on his motorcycle only on holidays handing out crossbows and stuffed squirrels as presents. When Papa Kwirk dies, Rion begins to discover there's so much more to his grandfather's story.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.30
Points: 13.0 Quiz: 503263
Kirkus Reviews (03/15/19)
School Library Journal (04/01/19)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 04/01/2019 Gr 4–6—Rion Kwirk has grown up surrounded by quirks and craves normalcy. At the funeral for his grandfather, Papa Kwirk, the family learns that they must embark on a scavenger hunt to find Papa Kwirk's ashes. In the next 24 hours, the Kwirk family eats 36 scoops of ice cream, climbs a 40-foot tree to retrieve a clue, and fights off thieves in a local museum. Along the way, they learn the truth behind much of Papa Kwirk's behavior, forcing Rion's father to reckon with their long estrangement. Rion also develops a crush on Tasha Meeks, an African American girl whose father runs the local ice cream parlor. The Kwirks are a white family, and most characters are also white. There is a brief, tokenizing mention of Rion's father's lab assistant, Riya, who has a Hindu name and has invented a chutney flavored jelly bean. Like many middle grade titles, the story leavens earnest life lessons and hard realities with humor. Papa Kwirk and a friend are recovering alcoholics, there is a description of a child's funeral, and Rion's father suffered childhood neglect. However, the news of Papa Kwirk's death is delivered via a singing (and cringing) clown, and his memorial service is a "funneral" with bands and food trucks. Rion is a perfect straight man who dryly observes his outlandish family's antics. VERDICT Humor, plot twists, and quirky characters abound in this earnest middle grade tale of self-discovery.—Lisa Goldstein, Brooklyn Public Library - Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.