Norman Fishbein, “Wormy” to his annoying older brothers, is on a family outing at the mall. Women in elf outfits stand near a huge glass jar of Doozy Dots, encouraging shoppers to guess the number of candies inside. Marcus, the oldest brother, makes his guess. Next, Larry guesses one Doozie Dot higher. Norman guesses a number that wanders into his head: 4,243.
A month later, a letter addressed to Norman arrives. After a skirmish with his siblings, he holds the envelope in his hand. He’s won, and inside is a check for $1,000! His parents need a new roof and a new car, but they allow Norman to decide how to spend his money.
After pondering model airplanes, a new bike or a drum set, Norman decides the family needs a holiday at a fancy hotel on Miami Beach. For once, even his cantankerous brothers are overjoyed.
A blizzard nearly cancels their flight, but with help from Uncle Shlomo’s truck, the family makes it to the airport and the beach. When the boys meet three sisters at the hotel, the youngest secretly befriends Norman, and the plotting begins. The two team up to keep their siblings from making their lives miserable. They befriend an aging comedian, Mort Ziff, and manage to save his job. Best of all, Norman and Amy become friends.
Award-winning author Cary Fagan has his pulse on the familiar concerns of younger siblings. With accessible language, humor and fresh characters, Fagan creates an impeccable and unsentimental portrayal of family life in the 1960s.
Billie B. Little is the Founding Director of Discovery Center at Murfree Spring, a hands-on museum in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.