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When Zachary Beaver Came to Town

by Kimberly Willis Holt

Published by Henry Holt, 1999
227 pages
ISBN: 0805061169

Ages 11-14

According to 13-year-old Toby Wilson, nothing ever happens in Antler, Texas, so when a man in a trailer suddenly shows up in the Dairy Maid parking lot, charging $2.00 admission to see the "fattest boy in the world," the townspeople line up. At six-hundred-pounds, Zachary Beaver is used to having people stare at him. "Might as well get paid for it," he remarks sullenly. The longer Zachary stays in Antler, the better Toby and his friend, Cal, get to know him, until he no longer seems like a curiosity to them at all. And in truth, both Toby and Cal are trying to take their minds off of trouble at home: Toby's mother has left the family, reportedly to seek her fortune as a country singer, while Cal's favorite brother is serving on the front lines in Vietnam. In fact, a lot is going on in Antler, Texas. Sometimes it just takes a stranger coming to town to point things out. Kimberly Willis Holt, who excels at writing about life in a small Southern town, creates as strong a sense of time and place as one can get, without going there in person. CCBC categories: Fiction for Teenagers  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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