A funny, fast-paced, and heartfelt story from the Newbery Honor-winning author of the Al Capone series.
Fifth grade is not for amateurs, according to Liam. Luckily, he knows that being more than one-third nerd is not cool. Liam lives in the Bay area near San Francisco with his mom and two younger sisters. Dakota is fascinated by science and has a big personality but struggles to make friends; Izzy, a child with Down syndrome, makes friends easily and notices things that go past everyone else. Dad lives across town, but he's over a lot. And then there's Cupcake, their lovable German shepherd, who guards their basement apartment.
Recently, Cupcake has a problem--she's peeing in the house. The kids need to make enough money to take her to the vet before their landlord upstairs finds out. And Mom and Dad have said if Cupcake doesn't stop, they will find her a new home. But the kids will never let Cupcake go. Can they save her?
Fifth grader Liam lives in a basement apartment with his mom, his two younger sisters (promising third grade scientist/resident nerd Dakota and second grade expert hugger Izzy), and their accident-prone German shepherd, Cupcake. Cupcake's bathroom issues push their cranky upstairs neighbor and landlord, Mr. Torpse (also known as Torpse the Corpse), to an ultimatum: either Cupcake goes or the whole family must. Though their divorced mother and father implore the siblings to accept that Cupcake must be rehomed, the kids carry out schemes to keep the dog. Black-and-white spot illustrations by Ceulemans faithfully depict the unique personalities of Liam's siblings and friends, including new kid Moses, whom Liam desperately wants to impress. Choldenko (the Al Capone at Alcatraz series) subtly emphasizes Liam's stress about being the responsible, oldest sibling; his parents' divorce; and insecurity about the family's modest lifestyle. It is Liam's quiet thoughtfulness and relationship with his sisters, especially his interest in their lives Izzy's Down syndrome social group "the Forty-Sevens" and Dakota's impulsive experiments that let him shine just as bright as his two extroverted sisters. Ages 8 12. Author's agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. Illustrator's agent: Hannah Whitty, Plum Pudding Illustration.