Author: Stephanie S. Tolan
When Randolph Applewhite announces the end of the world, initially his entire family just ignores him . . . after all, he makes similar announcements on nearly a monthly basis, at least. As he clarifies that this time it truly is a crisis, a financial one that could cause them to lose their home, Wit’s End, the Applewhites (plus permanent resident Jake Semple) pull together to create a solution. And since creating is exactly what most of them do best (being artists of various sorts), they decide to turn their 16-acre partially-repurposed motor lodge into a summer camp for creative children–accepting only the best and the brightest, of course. You can imagine the chaos, disturbance, and occasional brilliance that ensues as a disorganized, artistic, and individualistic family attempts to corral, teach, and inspire six equally disorganized, artistic, and individualistic kids. Even more so when threatening letters start to appear in the mailbox and a mysterious man is spotted prowling around the grounds. . . .
I am a huge fan of Tolan’s Surviving the Applewhites, and I think I enjoyed the sequel, Applewhites at Wit’s End, just as much. It’s a fun children’s book full of mad romps, eccentric characters, artistic whims . . . and some really nice people. Plus I always find it enjoyable to read books set in North Carolina (my favorite state), books about homeschooling, and books about artists–and this book combines all three! Seriously, the characters are fabulous–quirky, creative, resistant to authority (or anyone’s opinion other than their own), and yet surprisingly caring and united. And the character-driven plot is the perfect blend of humor, mystery, and drama, with possibly just the hint of romance thrown in for flavor.And of course, Destiny, the most adorable, talkative 5-year-old mascot any art camp ever had–I love him! Applewhites at Wit’s End is definitely a recommended read for anyone interested in a fun, artsy story.