by Anne Ylvisaker
224 pages for intermediate and middle grade readers who enjoyed Turtle in Paradise, Three Times Lucky or Moon Over Manifest
I like Tugs Button. She’s her own person. She’s a lover of words and of action. She’s curious about what is happening around her and while she doesn’t have much, she makes the best of it. Tugs is part of a family that gets by – nothing special or fancy. She moves through her small Iowa town without many expectations. After all, it’s mostly the same day in and day out, year after year.
But change is in the air. First there is the man with the Panama hat, Harvey Moore claiming that Goodhue should have its own newspaper. Then Aggie Millhouse notices that she and Tugs are the same height and invites Tugs to be her partner in the Independence Day three-legged race. “The Independence Day three-legged races were the stuff of legend in Goodhue. Children remembered the winning teams the way they remembered who won every Iowa Hawkeye football game. Tugs had been paired with her cousin Ned for the past hundred yeas, and she was resigned to the same fate this year.” If that was not enough “different”, Miss Lucy, the librarian encouraged Tugs to enter the essay contest. Tugs wrotes about patriotism and progress. She doesn’t think it’s too good, but Miss Lucy says that’s all up to the judges. And then on top of those changes– just for helping Mr. Pepper unpack some boxes in his photo shop, Tugs is given the last few raffle tickets as a thank you. Her name is in the drawing for a brand-new Kodak Brownie. She has a chance.
Independence Day arrives and it seems that the whole town comes to the Green for the celebration and contests. Ribbons and prizes surround the bandstand. Tugs knows something will happen, but will it be different. She is a Button after all and all of Goodhue knows the luck of the Buttons.