Author: Normandy D. Piccolo
Publisher: Normandy’s Bright Ideas
Genre: Urban youth fiction
The year is 1974. Trey Johnston and his friends are growing up in the Po’k n’ Beans Project outside of Washington, D.C. Trey’s Momma works hard to keep food on the table and rent paid for their slum apartment, but Trey wants more out of life. Trey, called Bonehead because Momma makes bone soup for nearly every meal, visits the House of Fossils Museum on a field trip. He then decides he will make himself and Momma rich by finding the very first dinosaur bone in the Beans Project.
Although this dig begins to consume his waking hours, Trey has an active social life with the residents of the Beans. As children of the 1970’s, they watch the classic TV shows, like “Good Times.” They discuss iconic sports heroes of the day, like Mohammed Ali. And they play games like “Rock ’em, Sock ’em Robots” although their Beans version is a bit different. The lingo is groovy, and the kids are true urban African American pre-teens.
Trey grows up surrounded by poverty and “lazy-bone” (as Momma would call them) residents in the Beans. But despite his circumstances, he rises above them by choosing to do something special. Although unsuccessful, he makes his Momma proud. Material possessions may make life easier, but Trey learns that love and friendship matter more than anything else.
Reviewer: Alice Berger