For me, the best part of this book was the setting. The author mentions that Popeye lives in Fayette, South Carolina, somewhere between Anderson County and Simpsonville. Since I’ve lived in that area my entire life, I can tell you that there is no Fayette, but the author’s description of Popeye’s world leads me to believe that he might just live near a little place called Fork Shoals. (Since I’m the librarian at Fork Shoals School, I thought this was pretty cool.)
When my students read this book, I can imagine that they’ll identify with how and where Popeye lives. Elvis, however, will be an enigma. His nomadic family brought a bit of eccentricity into this book and livened up Popeye’s life considerably. (I can tell you from experience that there’s not a lot to do in rural South Carolina, so breaks from the norm are a little exciting.)
When the two boys go looking for adventure, they find little boats made of Yoo-Hoo cartons traveling down the local creek. Each boat has a message. As Popeye and Elvis try to figure out who is sending the messages and what they mean, they learn a little about each other and the world around them.
This is a fun, quick read that I think will appeal to all readers, but especially boys who would often rather roam outside than read a book. It gives them a sense of adventure without ever stepping outside.