The Key that Swallowed Joey Pigza

keythatswallowedjoeypigzaWritten by Jack Gantos

I only became familiar with Jack Gantos two years ago when my family listened to Dead End in Norvelt on a summer road trip. We all fell in love with Gantos’ dry wit and sense of humor. Since then I’ve been a fan, and his Joey Pigza series is no exception. This is the 5th book in the Pigza series and it did not disappoint. Gantos tackles some tough subjects with humor and grace. Joey’s Dad has left the family and his Mom checks herself into the hospital leaving Joey to be “the man of the house” and take care of his baby brother. Joey does a pretty good job of it but all he wants is for his mom to get better and his parents to come home so they can be a family again. For a story that deals with serious issues such as depression and abandonment Gantos doesn’t let the storyline get too heavy. He adds some quirky characters that lighten the mood and has a great way of helping the reader understand these issues and presenting ways to tackle them. You just can’t help but love Joey and admire all that he does to get his family back on track.

Review by Jennifer Porter, Crestview Elementary Media Center
Rating: ★★★★½ (4.5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 4-7

Author Website:

The Key that Swallowed Joey Pigza
Written by Jack Gantos
x pages
Release Date: 2014
ISBN: x (hardcover)

Categories: Elem. – Fiction, Jr. High – Fiction
Tags: realistic fiction,

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2 thoughts on “The Key that Swallowed Joey Pigza”

  1. Jennifer, I JUST finished listening to Dead End in Norvelt and really fell in love with the main character and how interesting he was. I am glad to hear his other books are just as good and am excited to get into this series!

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