I found Appelt's comma-infused writing repetitive and very distracting. The writing, it was so full, round, globular, and it distracted. Distracted, it did. Yes. Very distracted, I was.Aside from that (which actually had me cursing aloud at more than one spot) I found the story to be very Newbery-like. With that many tragedies and the plethora of dead/evil parents, how can the committee resist? It's a shoe-in.I can see that the story was essentially sweet and ended in a hopeful fashion, but I was not particularly moved by it. I think maybe I need a break from fiction, I'm sensing a trend wherein I become crankier as each book goes by.