Travis is like a fish out of water in the city. He misses his old home in the country, and his old dog, Rosco. Now there’s just the cramped place he shares with his well-meaning but alcoholic grandpa; his new school and the dreaded routine of ducking out when it’s his turn to read aloud. Because he has a secret: he can’t read. But before long Travis meets Mr McQueen, who doesn’t take ‘pass’ for an answer – a rare teacher whose savvy persistence has Travis slowly unlocking a book on the natural world. And soon Travis is noticed by Velveeta, a girl whose wry banter and colourful scarves hide some hard secrets of her own. These two don’t want to let Travis duck out of life. Slowly, surely, can they reel him in? With sympathy, wry humour and disarming honesty, Pat Schmatz creates a cast of utterly believable characters in this warm and memorable novel.

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