cover image Weird Stories from the Lonesome Cafe

Weird Stories from the Lonesome Cafe

Judy Cox. Harcourt Children's Books, $15 (80pp) ISBN 978-0-15-202134-4

As she did in Rabbit Pirates, Cox chooses an amiable eating establishment setting as the setting for this cheerful spoof. Sam's Uncle Clem, an aspiring author, wishes something would happen at his remote Nevada caf so that he would have something to write about. Yet narrator Sam spots some mighty strange occurrences right under their noses. Just after an enormous, furry stranger whom the duo names Harry arrives for some chow, a TV news crew appears in search of Bigfoot, who has been spotted in the area. Next, a fellow with dark hair ""slicked-back and waved up high"" pulls up in a 1950s pink Caddy and introduces himself as ""El."" Mr. C, a jolly, round gent with a big white beard on vacation from his workshop up North shows up next, followed by a pigtailed girl who blows in on a small tornado and announces to her dog, ""I don't think we're in Kansas anymore."" Sam's oblivious uncle hires them all, still insisting that ""nothing ever happens here"" each time the reporters return in search of a story. Cox sprinkles her quick-moving if predictable narrative with double entendres and references that range from obvious to waggish (""Must be all shook up,"" says El after an alien emerges from his crashed spaceship). The Lonesome Caf doesn't set out to serve up substantial fare, but the light snack it offers will satiate kids with an appetite for shenanigans, and Kidd's black-and-white cartoon art dishes out an extra dollop of fun. Ages 7-10. (Apr.)