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Cooper and the Enchanted Metal Detector

Adam Osterweil

On days like this I imagine I’ve woken up in heaven. Squeaky brings me to the first garage sale, where there are a hundred people lined up outside. I smile at the nice lady by the garage door, and she lets me in early. Under a pile of books I find an original copy of the Declaration of Independence. Fireworks go off inside my head when I see the price tag—25¢. I pay the lady and race back home, Squeaky begging me the whole time to tell him what I bought. Mom gives me a record-breaking hug. I sell it for a million dollars, and Mom and I retire to Florida and swim in blue water with brightly colored fish.

Cooper and his mom run an antique business out of the old barn behind their house. Actually, Cooper does most of the work, since his mom is often lost in her own thoughts. But with Cooper riding his bike, Squeaky, to garage sales looking for treasures, setting the prices, and ordering the groceries, he and his mom do just fine.

Then one day he meets Decto, a metal detector. Together they find Revolutionary War artifacts in the backyard—and life gets complicated. Suddenly strangers want to take the property from Cooper and his mom and turn it into a historical park. The more Cooper learns about history and his own heritage, the more determined he is to resist. But how can a mere kid—even with some help from Decto, an Iroquois storyteller and coin collector named Jan, and Mr. Shepherd, who runs the town’s historical museum—thwart the intruders?

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  • Ages: 10 and up
  • Grades: 4 - 9
  • Pages: 250

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Recent Reviews

Narrated in the first person by Cooper, Osterweil’s novel reveals the inner workings of a sensitive boy trying to figure out how to help his family survive. Cooper’s active imagination is a stark contrast to the responsibility he assumes at home. …budding historians will have the opportunity to learn about an important moment in U.S. history—and may even be inspired to pick up a metal detector of their own. A poignant coming-of-age story and history lesson rolled into one.

—Kirkus Reviews


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