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Up, down, all around

A young boy mourning the loss of his dog finds himself in a parallel universe in Richard Scrimger’s latest middle-grade novel

EDITOR’S CHOICE

Downside Up

Richard Scrimger

Tundra Books, Ages 9-12

LIFE HAS not been easy recently for 11-year-old Fred Berdit. Fred has been feeling pretty low since he came down for breakfast one morning to find his beloved dog, Casey, dead on the floor, his heart apparently having given out. (“I wanted to know why. The vet shrugged. ‘They just do sometimes,’ she said.”) He fights with his older sister, Izzy; his mom doesn’t laugh anymore; and he’s become so quiet and withdrawn that Lisa Wu at school has taken to calling him “Mouse.” As he walks home from school through the park one day, Fred accidentally bounces Casey’s old tennis ball through a sewer grate. He can see it, but how to get to it? After prying up the grate with a hockey stick, Fred climbs down and lets go of the ladder. And then his world turns upside down. Literally.

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About Quill & Quire

KIDLIT SPOTLIGHT It's middle-grade fiction's tome to shine Reviews of new books by M.G. Vassanji, Douglas Coupland and Kathy Page