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Ives, David. Scrib.

IVES, David. Scrib. HarperCollins. 188p. c2005.0-06-059841-7 $15.99. JS

The cover, featuring a cowboy hat, pencils, and paper flying through the air, riddled by bullets, sums up this rollicking tale nicely. The front page provides a lengthy subtitle that describes the plot: "Some Characters, Adventures, Letters, and Conversations from the Year 1863, Including a Deadly Chase in the Wilderness of the Fearsome Canyon, All as Told by Billy Christmas, Who Was There." Billy, known as "Scrib," is a 16-year-old scribe who travels about the Old West writing and delivering letters for "ill-letterates," as he calls them, including a Paiute Indian who writes to President Lincoln, and a lovesick rancher. He is stalked by an unknown enemy, beaten up, and then accused of thievery and sentenced to hang; luckily, he is saved in the nick of time by the outlaw Crazy James Kincaid.

Like Sid Fleischmann's Jim Ugly, this combines humor with Old West legends and lore to create an entertaining tale. Ives, author of Monsieur Eek as well as off-Broadway plays, has a lot of fun with words (e.g., "mazewell" for "may as well," "ettikat" for "etiquette"; Scrib is described as "born and breaded for words"), and readers from fifth grade or so on up will get a kick out of Scrib's many adventures and his unique way of describing them. Paula Rohrlick, KLIATT

J--Recommended for junior high school students. The contents are of particular interest to young adolescent and their teachers.

S--Recommended for senior high school students.
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Author:Rohrlick, Paula
Article Type:Young Adult Review
Date:Mar 1, 2005
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