by Rosemary Wells
Candlewick, 2010. 329 pgs. Fiction.
Oscar's mother is killed in a freak lightning accident, leaving him behind to live with his dad. The two have a tight father-son relationship and share a love of Lionel model trains. But when the Great Depression hits, Oscar's dad must travel to California to find work and their home and beloved train set are sold. Oscar is horrified when he is sent to live with his strict Aunt Carmen. It seems almost unbearable until he makes friends with Mr. Applegate, an intelligent transient looking for work. When Mr. Applegate finally lands a job, it's as the night watchmen guarding a local bank. Oscar visits Mr. Applegate at the bank one particular evening and he ends up witnessing a bank robbery. Subsequent events catapult Oscar into taking a time travel trip into the future. Will he ever be reunited with his dad? Batoulline's illustrations provide visual clues to things that are not included in the text. A fun and engaging historical fiction covering both the Great Depression and the Los Angeles movie era of the 1940s.