I plucked the FANTASTIC SECRET OF OWEN JESTER by Barbara O'Connor off the library shelves because I loved the cover. The way the title was laid out and the water bubbling in the background made me think this was going to be a fantastical tale of a frog king or some underwater kingdom.
It was NONE of those.
Instead it's a story set in Carter Georgia. The main character, Owen, is living inhis grandfathers house with his parents. He and his two best buddies go to the pond and railroad tracks to play. (even though those two places are off limits!) Owen captures the biggest bullfrog, names him and builds a wonderful home for him. But when something falls off a train one night, the story really begins.
I don't want to give away what falls off the train because the discovery is part of the fun.
I'd say this story is a "slow burn"........it's realistic, funny, southern, and a sweet and charming. If you've grown up with woods and creeks to play in then you'll understand the smell of the leaves, the sounds of the pond and the excitement of discovery.
Emily, 10 years old, enjoyed it very much. William, 9 years old, who had only been able to hear a few chapters here and there, wanted to know how it ended. Always a good sign of a story!
Best for elementary school ages. Could be read in a day by a good reader, but we stretched it over a few nights.