If Burlington Northern were tied up outside, Knuckles McGraw could leap through the window right onto his back and gallop away before anyone knew he was gone. But for now he has to creep down the stairs, avoiding the creaky ones, carrying his shoes in one hand and his lunch kit in the other. He shoves his shoes under his arm so he can turn the front-door handle. It opens without making a sound.
After eight-year-old Kevin Mason’s mother abandons him, he takes refuge in his fantasy of becoming Knuckles McGraw, a tough cowboy roaming the plains on his legendary horse, Burlington Northern. But instead of riding the range, Kevin is stuck in a foster home with a pierced and tattooed teenager named Ice and a mute girl named Breezy. While he waits to be claimed by the father he barely remembers or the mother who left him a good-bye note in his lunchbox, Kevin (aka Knuckles McGraw) tries to communicate with Breezy, learns to get along with Ice, and discovers that memories can be as deceptive as family secrets.
Nominations: OLA Silver Birch Express Award 2011, Chocolate Lily Children’s Choice Award
Recognition: OLA Best Bets 2010, CCBC Best Books 2011, Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Books of the Year US 2011, Horny Toad Children’s Choice (Texas), 2009
“A humorous yet sensitive story…[Peterson] fills the story with a host of characters who are unusual yet kind and as we hear their stories we develop empathy for each of them.” Canadian Children’s Book News – July 1, 2010