Paperback, 198 pages
Published July 11th 2014
Blurb: Some might say he’s courageous, while others would say he’s daring, maybe even a little crazy. But when Joe Dearborne risked his life and ran into a burning building to save a puppy, the local newspaper referred to him as “fearless”—and that’s a pretty big title for a sixth-grader to live up to.
Plus, Joe already has plenty else to worry about. After other daring feats in the past, Joe promised his father he wouldn’t do anything dangerous again, and, alas, he’s just broken that promise.
But whatever trouble he expects to get into with his father, and despite the dangers he’s triumphed over in the past, nothing could prepare Joe for what he’s about to encounter when a cold, bitterness creeps into his home.
A mysterious and peculiar woman named Mrs. Chill has just been hired to care for Joe while his father is away on business. In no time, however, Joe discovers that she’s up to more than cooking and cleaning, and she has plans to destroy his family. Joe’s effort to save them results in perilous, sometimes humorous, encounters, and leads him on a journey through the threatening wilderness where he faces his greatest challenge yet.
After an unfortunate encounter with a coral snake, Joe changes. He is no longer "fearless." And to make matters worse, when he falls ill and needs extra care, his fearlessness is replaced with dread. Will he find bravery when all sorts of humorous, unbelievable, and quirky challenges are thrown at him.
One of the strongest points of this book is how it shows the difference between being brave and being fearless. Often books portray recklessness as a positive trait... as a mother, I love that this paints it in a more realistic light. That there are consequences to actions.
This is a good book, strong in terms of relating to characters and exemplifying the problems of kids today. Solid 4 Stars.