Just stumbled across this post on RED MOON AND BLACK MOUNTAIN by Joy Chant, a book I had totally forgotten about but probably still have around somewhere.
And the author of the post (Scott Cupp at Missions Unknown) is absolutely right: this was a really good book a zillion years ago and it does hold up well. I mean, I’m positive I read it again not so very many years ago and really enjoyed it.
What a great idea for a series of posts — this forgotten book idea, I mean, of course. My pick for an old book that nobody knows about but everybody should? Um . . . you know what, I’m going to go with THE PUSHCART WAR by Jean Merrill
THE PUSHCART WAR is a kid’s book, and it’s not genre, but it IS really good! The initial search I did on Amazon made it look like it’s totally unavailable at any sane price, but the link I put on the title above should take you to a different page (still at Amazon) where you can find used copies for just pocket change. It’s so worth finding a copy!
Here’s the description of the story:
“The pushcarts have declared war! New York City’s streets are clogged with huge, rude trucks that park where they want, hold up traffic, and bulldoze into anything that is in their way, and the pushcart peddlers are determined to get rid of them. But the trucks are just as determined to get rid of the pushcarts, and chaos results in the city.
The pushcarts have come up with a brilliant strategy that will surely let the hot air out of their enemies. The secret weapon–a peashooter armed with a pin; the target–the vulnerable truck tires. Once the source of the flat tires is discovered, the children of the city joyfully join in with their own pin peashooters. The pushcarts have won one battle, but can they win the war against a corrupt mayor who taxes the pins and prohibits the sale of dried peas?”
This is quite accurate but doesn’t really capture the zany humor of the whole story. If you’ve got a kid who’s ’round about twelve or so and who likes to read, you should grab a copy.
And, hey, now that I think of it, here’s a YA that I loved when I was a teenager and then went to some trouble to track down ten years ago or so: AN ALIEN MUSIC by Annabel and Edgar Johnson.
This book is so good! It’s SF, and it would count as post-apocalyptic except that almost the whole story takes place on a ship heading for Mars, not on the Earth. Where, see, everything dried up after it quit raining, and with our weather lately this is very easy to imagine, let me tell you. Anyway, the characterization makes this story! It’s first person — the protagonist has a fabulous voice, but all the secondary characters are beautifully drawn, too. The writing is just really excellent all the way through and the story is beautifully put together.
This is definitely one that adults as well as kids would love, but it doesn’t look like it’s super-easy to find. I know I paid a pretty penny for my copy, when I found one a decade ago.
Anybody else got a book in mind that would be a contender for a list of great but forgotten books?