Travis is missing his old home in the country, and hes missing his old hound, Rosco. Now theres just the cramped place he shares with his well-meaning but alcoholic grandpa, a new school, and the dreaded routine of passing when hes called on to read out loud. But thats before Travis meets Mr. McQueen, who doesnt take "pass" for an answera rare teacher whose savvy persistence has Travis slowly unlocking a book on the natural world. And its before Travis is noticed by Velveeta, a girl whose wry banter and colorful scarves belie some hard secrets of her own. With sympathy, humor, and disarming honesty, Pat Schmatz brings to life a cast of utterly believable charactersand captures the moments of trust and connection that make all the difference.