HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Best-Laid Plans of Jonah Twist
Author: Natalie Honeycutt
Publisher: Camelot, 1990
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 7 – 11
Rating: **** 4 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Category: General Youth Fiction
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Honeycutt, Natalie. The Best-Laid Plans of Jonah Twist (Published in 1988 by Bradbury Press, a division of Macmillan Publishing Company, 866 Third Ave., New York City, NY 10022; republished in 1990 by Avon Camelot Books, a division of The Hearst Corporation, 1350 Avenue of the Americas, New York City, NY 10019). Third grader Jonah Twist lives with his mother and older brother Todd in northern California and is a student at Mills Elementary School in Westmont, where his best friend is fellow third grader Granville Jones. Jonah likes to make plans, but they usually seem to go awry. He plans to convince his mother to let him have a kitten even though Todd objects because it might eat his pet hamster Woz. Then when Jonah goes to show the kitten to an elderly neighbor, Mr. Rosetti, he finds that the neighbor is mysteriously gone, so he plans to find him. Jonah and Granville also plan to keep school busybody, the bossy Juliet Fisher, from joining their school science group report on elephant seals.
However, Woz suddenly disappears. Everyone believes that Mr. Rosetti is not actually missing but just thinks that he went away to visit his sister. And the boys’ unkind comments send Juliet to the bathroom in tears. Did the new kitten eat Todd’s hamster? What has really happened to their neighbor? And is there any way that Jonah and Granville can work with Juliet? The Best-Laid Plans of Jonah Twist is a sequel to The All New Jonah Twist in which Jonah and Granville are former enemies who become best friends. There is very little objectionable. In addition to the facts that the kids uncover in search of the habitat of the elephant seal, Jonah grows in accepting responsibility, and the boys discover the real reason behind Juliet’s behavior.
The only possible negative in the book for some might be that Mr. and Mrs. Twist are apparently divorced and are living apart. School Library Journal noted, “Jonah and Todd ‘s alternate weekends with their dad are a smooth part of the story.” My feelings about this subject can be explained simply. While I realize that circumstances like this do exist, and believe that it is always good to try and make the best out of a bad situation, it seems to me that it is a sad commentary on the state of family life in our society that authors of children’s literature think that they just have to include such scenarios in their books to make them appear relevant.