RARA-AVIS: hardboiled trucking lit for kids

From: Scott Owen ( scottaowen@hotmail.com)
Date: 22 Apr 2002

Yes, it does exist if you're willing to stretch some definitions: T-MODEL TOMMY by Steven Meader. It's a pretty cheesy WWII era book written for the ultimate literary purgatory--the junior high school library. And it's very much the capitalist equivalent the the Soviet "boy meets tractor" films and literature.

But in this case, the boy meets a truck. En route to his eventual economic salvation via hard work (and avoid the dire fate of becoming a WPA shovel leaner) he tools around in a suprisingly well realized south Jersy/north Pennsylvania local, even getting kidnapped by gangsters!

Why should avians care? The atmosphere in sections is quite good and often surprisingly noir-ish. And there are some excellent illustrations by Edward Shenton (??) which wouldn't be out of place on the cover of an early Popular Library paperback.

Heck, I still like it better than THEY RIDE BY NIGHT.


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