A wonderful middle-grade novel narrated by Kenny, 9, about his middle-class black family, the Weird Watsons of Flint, Michigan. When Kenny's 13-year-old brother, Byron, gets to be too much trouble, they head South to Birmingham to visit Grandma, the one person who can shape him up.
The author has created a story with so many rich, tender, and hilarious moments that it is easy to believe that the family and events are real. Kenny, 10, tells the story. Kenny's description of brother Byron's antics leaves little doubt that this 13-year-old is on his way to being an "official delinquent." He is the cause of the family's decision to visit Birmingham to leave him with his maternal grandmother. The trip itself is a hoot as Dad decides to save money by making it a non-stop trip from Flint, Michigan. In Birmingham they are soon caught in the maelstrom of events of the emerging Civil Rights Movement. The spectrum of emotions from comedy to tragedy make this a worthy Newbery Honor Book, 1996.