Ernie Banks, named for the legendary Chicago Cubs shortstop, is a troubled, thirteen-year-old juvenile delinquent. Abandoned on the doorstep of the Lakeside Home for Boys when he was three years old, his only proof that he once belonged to somebody is a vintage Ernie Banks baseball card, a crystal acorn he wears on a string around his neck, and a strange spiral birthmark on the bottom of his right foot.
As a last reprieve before being sent to a juvenile detention facility, Ernie is allowed to spend three weeks on a working farm. When Ernie arrives at the home of Russ Frazier, he learns that the widower s baby was kidnapped years before. Ernie is determined to solve the case. He teams up with Joey, a local tomboy, to investigate clues that lead them on a dangerous journey into a forbidden world of dark secrets, magic puddles, and the cavernous underground kingdom of the Puddlejumpers eleven-inch-tall water creatures with whom Ernie has a mysterious connection.
Puddlejumpers is a YA book about a group of beings who are about a foot tall and live under the ground hiding from Troggs who are eight feet tall and kidnap the Puddlejumpers to work underground in their mine. According to a prophesy a human baby boy born in spring is going to be their rainmaker. When Shawn Frazier is six months old they take him from his father to their home underground and raise him there until he is three. Then they attempt to move him to a new location, but a series of incidents cause Shawn to end up at a home for orphans. Eight or nine years later his ends up in a foster farm owned by his father. Shawn is now known as Ernie and befriends Joey, a girl who lives nearby. Together they start to unravel the mystery of what happened to baby Shawn and the mysterious neighbors and the source of the terrible drought their area of Ohio has been going through. I listened to the audio CDs for this book with my children. One thing that kept throwing me was that the narrator used a southern accent for Russ, Shawn’s father in Ohio. Why would someone in Ohio have a southern accent? Maybe just to make the voices more distinct. I was afraid that some of the story elements would be scary to my children, but they seemed to really enjoy it and understood that it was fantasy
Pub. Date: February 2010
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Format: Hardcover , 336pp