by Leslie Connor
What would you do if all the gas pumps ran dry? For Dewey Marriss, that question suddenly becomes very important. His parents are stuck up north on an anniversary trip and are unable to get back without fuel. Dewey and his siblings – 18 year old artist Lil, 13 year old mechanical genius Vince, and five year old twins Angus and Eva – are stuck making it on their own. Bicycles become the main mode of transportation in town, and as people bike up and down the deserted highway, the family’s small bike repair business suddenly booms. Now, Dewey must figure out how to keep up with way too many bike repairs, deal with irritable customers, and figure out how to get through daily life without his parents’ help. Then, things begin to go strangely missing from the bike shop. Can Dewey stay afloat with the business, take care of the twins, and solve the mystery of the thefts? And when will his parents come home?
Crunch shows us a scenario in which people must adapt to living in a world with minimal fuel. It deals with a modern situation with an old-fashioned feel, being both a mystery and a family story. Dewey has a tight-knit family and community, and his newfound independence and responsibility show the ways in which this experience changes him.
How can we best deal with the challenges that come our way? Dewey finds that bicycles are a great way to get around when gas runs low. He discovers that even though the world changes, there are ways that communities can help each other and adapt to get what they need. How would his experience have been different if he’d lived in a city? The rural countryside? How would your community come together to help people get along?
What challenges might we face in the future? What are ways we can use our knowledge to overcome them, and how can we plan ahead to make our communities more sustainable?