It's not that the folks in Centerburg are especially nosy; it's just that in a small town everyone seems to know everything. But Homer Price does know more about what's going on than anyone, because he's usually in the middle of things. And whenever there's a problem Homer puts everything aright with his own common sense and ingenuity like the time Uncle Heracles jumped out of his clothes and landed in another state, or a slick salesman duped the whole town, or the whole town started speaking in jingles. Nothing fazes Homer Price!
Centerburg might be your town. Grampa Hercules and his never-ending tall tales, Dulcy Dooner, the uncooperative citizen, unbusinesslike Uncle Ulysses and his friendly lunchroom, the flustered sheriff, the pompous judge—they are all as American as they come. But there's a subtle and delightful difference. In Centerburg, along with the routine of day-to-day living, the most preposterous things keep happening.
But nothing fazes Homer Price! Ragweeds taller than fire ladders, music that sets a whole town dancing—he solves these problems calmly and efficiently. Homer Price is a boy with a good supply of common sense—and ingenuity!
Homer's Grampa Hercules is a delightful old rascal and his extravagent reminiscences of his youth are the starting point of many of the episodes. The chapter titles are as enticing as the chapters themselves: The Hide-a-Ride, Looking for Gold, Ever So Much More So, Experiment 13, Grampa Hercules and the Gravitty-Bitties, Pie and Punch and You-Know-Whats.
Mr. McCloskey's characters have warmth and kindness and a healthy curiosity; but they are not above a few minor faults and foibles. They are unmistakenably alive. Like Mr. McCloskey himself, they are perpetually amused by the everyday hazards and discrepancies around them.
Robert McCloskey (1914-2003) wrote and illustrated some of the most honored and enduring children's books ever published. He grew up in Hamilton, Ohio, and spent time in Boston, New York, and ultimately Maine, where he and his wife raised their two daughters. The first ever two-time Caldecott Medal winner, for Make Way for Ducklings and Time of Wonder, McCloskey was also awarded Caldecott Honors for Blueberries for Sal, One Morning in Maine, and Journey Cake, Ho! by Ruth Sawyer. He was declared a Living Legend by the Library of Congress in 2000. You can see some of his best-loved characters immortalized as statues in Boston's Public Garden and Lentil Park in Hamilton, Ohio.