fiction favorites…The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester

The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester, by Barbara O’Connor

After supper, Owen sat on his closet floor beside the plastic tub where Tooley lived and looked down at the frog.  Tooley was the biggest, greenest, slimiest, most beautiful bullfrog ever to be seen in Carter, Georgia.
It had taken Owen nearly a month to catch him.  A month of clomping through mud and scooping with fishnets and buckets and colanders and even a hamster cage.  A month of squatting on logs, holding his breath, not moving a muscle, watching that big frog with the heart-shaped red spot between his bulging yellow eyes.  A month of telling his friends Travis and Stumpy he was going to catch that frog no matter what.
And then one day, just last week, he did.
The right scoop with the right net at the right time.
He had brought the frog home and made him a perfect frog house in a plastic tub in the closet.
And he had named him Tooley Graham.

This sounds like a happy state of affairs for a nine-year-old boy, doesn’t it?

However, all is not quite so tidy in Owen Jester’s world.  For one thing, Tooley Graham, despite all Owen’s care and attention, just does not seem happy.  Won’t eat.  Languishing, you might say.  For another thing, that nosy, bossy, girl next door, Viola, harps at him  about Tooley’s distress every time she sees him.  Finally, there is the mysterious thud-tumble-tumble sound he heard as a train rumbled past the house late one night.  What on earth could have made that sound?

So you see, Owen has several troubles to sort out.  Furthermore,  making Tooley happy, avoiding Viola, and discovering the origin of the noise in the night, all seem to keep spinning off further troubles of their own.  In fact, when Owen finally does stumble upon the amazing, out-of-this-world, most outstanding object that has fallen off the train, it brings about the biggest difficulty of them all:  keeping something so wonderful a secret.

This entertaining story is well-suited to young elementary readers with its scruffy little boys wanting nothing to do with girls, and their tough, independent, pond-and-meadows escapades.  There is a tender line involving Owen’s ailing grandfather, but otherwise it’s simply chock full of mud, bravado, grit, a dash of stupidity, and plenty of thrilling victory.  Fun boy book for those of you looking for something for the 8-11 crowd.

Here’s the Amazon link:

The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester