At the end of World War II, Jack Baker, a landlocked Kansas boy, is suddenly uprooted after his mother's death and placed in a boy's boarding school in Maine. There, Jack encounters Early Auden, the strangest of boys, who reads the number pi as a story and collects clippings about the sightings of a great black bear in the nearby mountains. Newcomer Jack feels lost yet can't help being drawn to Early, who won't believe what everyone accepts to be the truth about the Great Appalachian Bear, Timber Rattlesnakes, and the legendary school hero known as The Fish, who never returned from the war. When the boys find themselves unexpectedly alone at school, they embark on a quest on the Appalachian Trail in search of the great black bear. But what they are searching for is sometimes different from what they find. They will meet truly strange characters, each of whom figures into the pi story Early weaves as they travel, while discovering things they never realized about themselves and others in their lives.
Conjoining the specter of loss with friendship and imagination, this compelling middle grade novel explores the lives of two very different boys in similar situations. It's the end of World War II, and 13-year-old Jack Baker has been sent from his Kansas home to boarding school in Maine after the death of his mother. Grieving and lonely, Jack befriends oddball Early Auden, a boy obsessed with both the number pi and discovering that his brother, Fisher, didn't actually die in the war. Early takes Jack on an outrageous, fascinating quest along the Appalachian Trail, where they meet a host of eccentrics that seem to have sprung directly from Early's story of pi. Clare Vanderpool is the author of MOON OVER MANIFEST, the 2011 Newbery Award winner.
- Juvenile Fiction
- School + Education, Social Issues / New Experience, Historical / United States / 20th Century, Action + Adventure / General
- 9-12 years
- January 8, 2013
- January 8, 2013
- Clare Vanderpool