I enjoyed this new addition to Ms. O’Connor’s body of work. I liked the quirkiness of the characters from Stella and Gerald to Mr Mineo, to Sherman the one-legged pigeon.
The story is told by switching from one narrative perspective to another—although not in first person. I was engaged in the action throughout the story—an effect I believe is due to the swiftly shifting narrative perspectives, it backfires as a literary device when it comes to character. I found myself wanting deeper character development particularly in the children: Stella and Gerald. It seems to me that there is so much more to be learned about them, but each time we approach some insightful, revealing moment the narrative switches to two old men playing checkers for half a page.
I do not recommend this as a read-aloud selection because there is so little character development. I do not see this story holding the interest of the majority of students in a classroom. A much better choice by this author is FAME AND GLORY IN FREEDOM, GEORGIA (my absolute favorite by this author) or for slightly older readers (middle school and up): GREETINGS FROM NOWHERE.