School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gr 7-9-Travis is forced to move with his grandfather from the small Wisconsin town that is the only home he has ever known. On top of that, his pet dog has disappeared and his alcoholic grandpa insists they move immediately, leaving the dog behind. Travis has always struggled with schoolwork and has a difficult time talking to anyone. At his new middle school, he meets feisty, funky classmate Velveeta and a determined teacher who realizes that Travis has a learning disability and is much more than just a stupid "bluefish." Pat Schmatz's novel (Candlewick, 2011) is brought to life by Luke Daniels and Kate Rudd. Daniels captures Travis's sweet, shy demeanor with his deliberate speech pattern and has listeners cheering him on from the beginning. His gruff voicing of Travis's grandpa is perfect as well. Kate Rudd narrates the Velveeta passages that are in the form of letters to her dead neighbor and mentor. Rudd's sarcastic tone mixed with just the right amount of sympathy makes Velveeta a real person. Filled with believable characters, this novel will capture the hearts of middle school listeners.-Shari Fesko, Southfield Public Library, MI (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.