|Of Mice & Nutcrackers
The class is putting on The Nutcracker for the holiday pageant and Jane Peeler's in charge. Things are not going well. The phys ed teacher won't let her use the gym to rehearse, Herald of Candyland can't get his lines straight, she may be losing her best friend, and she's worried about home because Dad's sick and Grandma - irritable, chain-smoking, noncooking Grandma - is taking care of the family. How is Jane going to pull together a project that seems like it is destined to fail? Her efforts are as hilarious - and as thought provoking - as they were when we first met the Peelers in The Way to Schenectady.
Readers first met the Peeler family as they went on a hilarious summer road trip in The Way to Schenectady. Now winter has come and with it the school holiday pageant. Jane Peeler, who loves to be the boss at all times, is directing her class production of The Nutcracker. All does not go as well as she planned as she finds the plot of the presentation creeping into her own life. First, there are problems at school, caused by a gym teacher who wants the gym for basketball, not for rehearsal space. Then there’s a budding romance in the cast. At home, Dad has come down with an illness, and Grandma — grumpy, chain-smoking, profane Grandma — comes back on the scene as a reluctant baby-sitter to Jane and her younger brothers Bill and Bernie.
• Short listed, Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award 2003
• Short listed, Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award, 2003
• Our Choice, Canadian Children's Book Centre, 2002
• Short listed, Red Cedar Book Awards - Fiction, 2003
“All manner of things go wrong, although eventually many things go very right. Getting to there is full of antic humour…but underlying the fun is…a weightiness driven by the novel's characters and their concerns, which makes this novel most satisfying.” – The Globe and Mail