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Children's Fiction Death & Dying

Downside Up

by (author) Richard Scrimger

Publisher
Tundra
Initial publish date
Sep 2016
Category
Death & Dying, Fantasy & Magic, General
  • Hardback

    ISBN
    9781770498457
    Publish Date
    Sep 2016
    List Price
    $19.99

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 10 to 18
  • Grade: 5 to 12

Description

Fred is a sixth-grader reeling from the loss of his beloved dog, Casey. Every day he walks home from school bouncing Casey's old worn-out tennis ball. One day, the ball falls down a sewer grate, and Fred can't bear to leave it down there. He pries open the grate and stumbles down. Through the sewer, Fred enters a parallel universe: Casey is alive, his mom and sister are happier, and there's a version of Fred who's happier too. Spending time with Casey, Fred feels joy for the first time since his dog's death, but he slowly realizes that the loss of Casey is masking an even greater loss: the death of Fred's father. Fred brings his sister, Izzy, to this upside-down world of lost things in the hope of finding their father and bringing him back. Can everything that is lost be found again?

About the author

 

Richard Scrimger a écrit plus de vingt livres pour enfants et adultes, dont Zomboy et Downside Up. Plusieurs d’entre eux ont été publiés dans le monde entier et ont remporté ou ont été mis en nomination pour des prix prestigieux. Il contribue aussi à la série Seven et il est un orateur recherché dans les écoles.

 

Richard Scrimger is the award-winning author of seven novels for children, three picture books, and three books for adults. Columns detailing Richard’ s adventures in parenthood have been published in "The Globe and Mail, Chatelaine," and "Today’ s Parent." His first children’ s novel, "The Nose from Jupiter," won the 10th Annual Mr. Christie’ s Book Award. His first adult novel, "Crosstown," was short-listed for the City of Toronto Book Award. He and his family live in Cobourg, Ontario.

 

Richard Scrimger's profile page

Excerpt: Downside Up (by (author) Richard Scrimger)

It wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been looking down. I think about that sometimes, what it means. Down. I was looking down, all right.
I walked out of school bouncing Casey’s old tennis ball, like usual. Until Lance Levy kicked it out of my hand and I ran after it.
“Yesss!” Lance called. “See that? See the way I kicked Berdit’s stupid tennis ball right out of his hand? Yesssssss!”
His voice chased me across the playground, then passed me, fading into the distance as Lance raced away down the street. He was the fastest kid in sixth grade. Yesss he was.
I was holding onto the ball when I came up to Velma Dudding, who was on the sidewalk in front of the school. I thought about saying hi to her. Or bye. Or see you tomorrow. But I didn’t. Her mom drove up and Velma slipped into the front seat of the SUV. I walked on.
Izzy was waiting for me at the top of Sorauren Park. 
“Hey, Fred,” she said.
“Hey.”
Now that I was closer to home I was bouncing the ball and catching it again.
“I changed my screen saver. Wanna see it?” said Izzy.
“Nah.”
My eyes were on the ground. Cracked pavement. Weeds. Ants. Dirt. The tennis ball made a flat, hollow sound when it bounced.
“Come on, take a look. Harry has a new hat.”
“Nah.”
She’s my big sister. Isabel. We both go to Sir John A. Macdonald Public School. She’s in eighth grade, two years ahead of me. We cut across the bottom of Sorauren Park, crossed Wabash Avenue and headed down toward Wright Avenue. I bounced my ball off the paved path and caught it. Off the grass. Caught it again.
Izzy walked ahead of me. Her runners were broken at the back. The red heels flapped up and down. They looked like little mouths, opening and closing.
“Race you home, Fred!” she said.
“Huh?”
“Race you! Come on. From here to the back door. Ready . . . set . . . go.”
I gave up after a few steps. She stopped, turned back for me.

Editorial Reviews

PRAISE FOR Downside Up:

"As the dimensional differences increase and the author introduces more and more fantastical elements, readers have a sure footing in their emotional connection to Fred, allowing the author to introduce some strange, Miyazaki-esque ideas and imagery with ease." --Kirkus Reviews

"A thought-provoking and ultimately hopeful work. Fred’s authentic voice provides a balm to those struggling to understand loss and inspires all to view the world with fresh eyes."
--School Library Journal

"What Scrimger does with Downside Up is present a story with just enough quirk and humour to balance the more serious issues. Whether a child has experienced the loss of a loved one or not, this book will resonate with its universal message of finding ways to cope with difficult situations." --Quill & Quire
"Downside Up is a brilliant, gripping . . . book." --CM Magazine

Other titles by Richard Scrimger