Homer Price
by Robert McCloskey
ISBN 978-0142404157
Ages 7-11
In Stores

For the first selection to receive a retro review, you best believe it had to be a winner. Homer Price does not disappoint. Puffin recently released this book with updated cover art under the moniker “Modern Classic”, and indeed it is. The book is separated into six chapters, with each acting as it’s own short story. There are a few things you should know about Homer:

  • He enjoys a good doughnut (hence the cover art).
  • He lives just outside the small Midwestern town of Centerburg where everyone is in each others business.
  • He apparently is more intelligent that most (ok, all) of the adults in town.

McCloskey keeps the action moving along – from catching criminals to stopping an out of control doughnut making machine, each story contains a large dollop of interest-piquing situations and characters. How could you not love a story about two men taking part in a contest to see who has the largest collection of string, with the winner getting the opportunity to propose to the woman they’re both in love with? Or how about a story with a mysterious Rip Van Winkle type character who has devised a ingenious way to rid Centerburg of mice – without harming a single one?

Reading Homer Price reminded me of listening to an album where the first few songs are so good that you’re nervous about the rest of the tracks living up the high standard. In this book, there really isn’t a letdown. As you might expect with a book that was written in the days of yore (c. 1943) there is some dated content, but that is minor and unlikely to make much of an impression to young readers who will be too engrossed in the story to notice much. A classic for modern times.