Christopher Cloud admits he came to literature late in life. “I was in my 60s before I developed a real interest in writing fiction,” he said. A Boy Called Duct Tape is Cloud’s debut middle-grade novel. It is a first-person account of three Latino children searching for the “lost treasure” of Jesse James.
Cloud began writing children’s fiction after a long career in journalism and public relations. He graduated from the University of Missouri in 1967 with a degree in journalism. He has worked as a reporter, editor, and columnist for newspapers in Texas, California, and Missouri. His work has appeared in many national publications, including Time Magazine.
He was employed by Sun Oil Company, Philadelphia, as a public relations executive, and later operated his own PR agency. He created the board game Sixth Sense in 2002. The game sold at independent bookstores nationwide.
Cloud said his next project is a young-adult novel. “I have written the first draft of a story I’m calling 16 And In Love,” Cloud said. “This story—like A Boy Called Duct Tape—is multicultural.”
Cloud lives in Joplin, Missouri.
Pablo Perez is a 12-year-old poor kid without much going for him. His classmates have dubbed him “Duct Tape” because his tattered discount-store sneakers are held together with…you guessed it, duct tape. He can’t escape the bullying.
Pablo’s luck, however, changes after he finds a $20 gold coin while swimming in a river near his home. Pablo later buys a $1 treasure map at the county fair. The map shows the route to the “lost treasure” of Jesse James. Pablo can’t help but wonder: Is there a link between the map and the gold coin? He is determined to find out, and he, his 9-year-old sister and 13-year-old cousin hire an ill-natured cave guide, and begin a treacherous underground adventure in search of treasure.
A Boy Called Duct Tape is a fun and suspenseful 203 page story that children in middle school are going to enjoy and look forward to reading over and over again. Christopher Cloud does an excellent job creating a sense of suspense and adventure in the story. Though this reviewer feels the title for this book is wrongly given, it doesn't express what the story is truly about and is not as enticing to the reader as what it could be, the content of the story will certainly satisfy the readers thirst for treasure hunting. The characters of Pia and Pablo are relateable to many children out there, which makes them realistic to the reader. The historical value it provides about Jesse James and his gang, who had lived in the Missouri area, will definetly stimulate a curiosity about some legends of the wild west and how they came to be, having them wonder if there are bits of truth in this fictional tale.
Overall, this story is a wonderful read children are going to enjoy and pass on to their friends.