John Reynolds Gardiner
This book is massively short, so anyone pressed for time shouldn’t worry about that. It’s about a boy named little Willy, whose grandfather stops getting out of bed because he owes the government taxes and he can’t pay them. Willy enters a dog sled race to make the money they need to pay off their debt and save the farm.
First of all, what kind of bad guardian decides not to get out of bed to eat or work when they have a young child to take care of? From the start of the story, I wanted to punch the grandfather in the stomach for not taking care of his grandson. Then to make matters worse, the dog dies out of left field, and the story literally ends there. What? This story was terrible!
And the title is the name of a minor character who’s not even introduced until 3/4 through the book. The story isn’t about him. It’s about Willy. The story should be called, “Willy and His Totally Useless Grandpa.” Avoid this one at all costs–and especially when grabbing books for young readers. It was such a waste of time.