It’s not every book that gets to go to the fair as a honored guest.
But Leslie Bulion of Durham has a hit on her hands with her latest highly acclaimed children’s novel. The Universe of Fair, written for 8-12 year olds, is illustrated by Frank Dormer, with charming, expressive line drawings. The book is a love story to Durham’s much celebrated town fair, which is attended by everyone in town (if not in the state, judging from the overflow of happy, fair-going people walking along Route 17 on Fair Weekend.)
The Universe of Fair is the story of Miller Sanford, an engaging 11-year old science whiz, who tries to show his parents he’s responsible enough to enjoy the town fair without parental supervision, but events conspire against him.
Instead of a freewheeling, fun day, Miller is drawn into a mishap-filled fair day he never imagined involving a string of tag-along first graders, lemon meringue pie, witch pumpkins and flying death heads! Even before Fair Friday arrives, things start to go wrong: Miller accidentally serves his father’s pie (which was intended to be entered in a baking contest at the fair) as an after school snack. Then, due to parental work and illness, Miller gets stuck taking his six-year-old sister and her two friends to the fair. Ghost sightings, lost first-graders, and Miller’s attempts to get his father’s mostly eaten pie into the contest make for a very different Fair Friday than Miller expected.
Publishers Weekly says the book is upbeat and entertaining, and Kirkus Reviews says the book “not only lovingly celebrates the color and magic of the fair, but endearingly depicts the inner landscape of a maturing child encountering his first taste of the adult world.”
If you’re planning to go to the Durham Fair, (which is held from Sept. 27-30 this year) you can look for Miller, who will be all around the area, ready for discovery. Kids can take their picture with Miller and post them on Facebook for a chance to win Miller T-shirts or a copy of the book.
For more information, go to Leslie’s website at http://www.lesliebulion.com.