Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Last Newspaper Boy in America




by Sue Corbett
New York: Dutton, 2009. 199 pgs. Juvenile Fiction
Wil David is the youngest in a long line of Davids who have delivered the newspaper to the households of Steele, Pennsylvania, beginning at age twelve. Wil is excited as his birthday approaches, not only because he is the most accurate newspaper thrower of his whole family, but because he can now start earning money towards a laptop computer. But Wil's dream withers on the vine before it can begin to grow when the proprietors of The Cooper County Caller decide to discontinue newspaper service to Steele because the town is too small to be cost-effective for the paper's advertisers. But Wil of Steele refuses to give in, and mounts a petition campaign to save the paper and his job. Many contemporary concerns inform Corbett's very funny book. In addition to the small-town reflection of the decline of print journalism, many of Steele's residents are unemployed as a result of the closing of the hairpin factory. How all these concerns are resolved to a mostly happy ending is the burden of the remainder of this delightful tale. Highly recommended. (p.s.: next time Wil writes an award-winning report on his great-grandparents farm life, he should be aware that grain, not hay, is "threshed." Just saying.)

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