A middle-grade novel about two maybe-orphans and their unlikely friendship with a cranky old neighbor.
At first Curtis isn’t that worried when his mother doesn’t come home from her all-night job at the local gas bar. He’s used to looking after himself and his five-year-old brother, Artie, and for a time he manages things on his own, keeping their mother’s absence a secret. But when the credit card maxes out and the landlord starts pressuring for the rent, it’s more than a twelve-year-old can handle. Just in time, Curtis and Artie make friends with Mrs. Burt, the cranky, lonely old lady who lives across the street, and when the authorities start to investigate, the boys agree to go with Mrs. Burt to her remote cabin by the lake.
At the lake, the boys’ days are filled with wood-chopping, outhouse-building, fishing, swimming and Mrs. Burt’s wonderful cooking. But when the weather grows colder, and Mrs. Burt seems to be preparing to spend the winter at the cabin, Curtis starts to worry. Have they really all just absconded to the lake for a summer holiday? Or have the two boys been kidnapped?