Owen and Eleanor Move In

illus. by Charlie Alder. 120p. Spark House Family. Apr. 2018. pap. $7.99. ISBN 9781506439723.
Gr 1–3—Eleanor is miserable that her parents decided the family had to move. Then, to top it all off, her goldfish, Scrumpy the Fourth, dies. One good thing is that Owen lives upstairs at Eleanor's new house and he seems fun. Even though Owen is only seven, and Eleanor is eight already, the twosome bond over planning an elaborate goldfish funeral complete with a fencing demonstration. Then Eleanor lets Owen in on her secret: she is planning to run away—back to her old, real, home. Eleanor, who is Latina, speaks both English and Spanish and her family are Christian. Owen and his family, who are white, are also Christian, but of a different denomination; they pray to the "Spirit of Life" and Owen is homeschooled. After some discussion, the two children agree that God loves everybody, even Scrumpy the Fourth. Bouwman's early grade chapter book is a realistic and relatable Christian-based story with quirky and enjoyable characters.
VERDICT This new series fills the void in contemporary Christian realistic fiction for elementary-aged readers. Buy for schools or communities seeking Christian-themed books for a young audience.

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