Footer Davis Probably Is Crazy
Illustrator: Jennifer Black Reinhardt
Does Footer remember the night Mr. Abrams was killed and his grandkids vanished, or is she hallucinating? Her mom does have bipolar disorder, so maybe Footer is crazy, too. Q & A with the author. Suggestions for further reading. Black-and-white illustrations.
JLG Release: Apr 2015
Awards & Honors
2016 Edgar Awards Winner, Best Juvenile
2015 Cybils Awards Nomination, Middle Grade Fiction
Children’s Book Committee Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Books of 2016, Today
Praise & Reviews
Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Booklist, The Horn Book Magazine, The Horn Book Guide^, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly
The Horn Book Guide Review:
After shooting off an elephant rifle in their backyard, eleven-year-old Footer’s bipolar mother is admitted to a psychiatric hospital. To distract herself, budding journalist Footer investigates an unsolved local crime with best friend Peavine, an aspiring detective with cerebral palsy. Footer’s lively voice and sense of humor add levity to heavy subject matter. Like its heroine, this mystery is compelling, offbeat, and fearless.
Junior Library Guild
- Footer is a sympathetic main character who has a sweet relationship with her best friend, a boy named Peavine. While the two kids try to find out who killed Footer’s neighbor—and what happened to his grandkids—they’re very supportive and protective of each other. Footer stands up for Peavine, who has cerebral palsy,
- Footer is a sympathetic main character who has a sweet relationship with her best friend, a boy named Peavine. While the two kids try to find out who killed Footer’s neighbor—and what happened to his grandkids—they’re very supportive and protective of each other. Footer stands up for Peavine, who has cerebral palsy, and Peavine reassures Footer when she worries about her sanity.
- A conversational first-person narration makes for a pleasant read. Footer’s unique perspectives and her eye for detail are charming: “I had pretended to kiss Peavine before, and some other guys, but mostly Peavine. The real kiss lasted two seconds, and it was nothing like pretending. He tasted like salt and the barbecue potato chips he always ate at lunch, and there was a leaf right at the corner of our mouths, and a branch scratched my ear when I did it.”
- The satisfying mystery moves quickly, thanks to many twists and turns. Clues build steadily to a conclusion that few readers will guess.
- For most of the story, Footer’s mother—who has bipolar disorder—is institutionalized. The book provides a nuanced portrayal of mental illness, showing the stigma attached to it and how it affects families.
5 1/2" x 8 1/4"
Level 4.9; Points: 7;
Scholastic Reading Counts
Level 5.3; Points: 12;
Potentially Sensitive Areas
Mild language, Violence, Negative attitudes toward differing mental abilities, Murder, Negative attitudes toward differing physical abilities, Child abuse, Arson
Mental illness, Arson, Missing children, Family life, Friendship, Mystery and detective stories, Mississippi,