Trouble the Water

Callie has found a stray dog and she is determined to figure out his owner. Her investigation causes her to collide with Wendell, a white boy from town. She reluctantly joins forces with Wendell to find out who owns the wandering yellow dog.

As they investigate, they find themselves getting closer and closer to a rickety cabin in the woods, where two invisible boys live. One of the boys has lost his dog, and can’t figure out where he could have gotten to. The other boy has lived in this cabin for years and years. He’s waiting for someone to take him across the river.

Soon, the town is up in arms to have a white boy and black girl working together and being friendly. Conflict erupts in flames, threatening both the white and black communities.

I enjoyed Trouble the Water by Frances O’Roark Dowell. I read it right after I read Kristen Levine’s The Best Back Luck I Ever Had, which probably was unfortunate. I loved Levine’s book, and couldn’t help comparing Dowell’s book to it.

Parents, be aware that Trouble the Water deals with racial issues, death, ghosts and violence. All subjects are dealt with appropriately. But be prepared to talk about ghosts and your beliefs about what happens when we die with your children after reading this book.

Recommended for ages 8 and up.

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