Cover image for The gypsies never came
The gypsies never came
Roos, Stephen.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, [2001]

Physical Description:
116 pages ; 22 cm
Sixth-grader Augie Knapp, who has a deformed hand, is convinced by Lydie Rose, the strange new girl in town, that the gypsies are coming for him.
Reading Level:
480 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 3.5 3.0 47424.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 4.6 7 Quiz: 23827 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Young Adult

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He holds his hand up to her face. "Celebrate this? I hate this. I hate this every day.""You don't mean that," Lydie protests. "When the Gypsies come, you'll understand.""Don't you get it, Lydie? They never come for gimps like me." For a small town, Warsaw Junction has a lot of secrets. Who could guess that Augie Knapp, the kid who hides his deformed hand in a glove, has collected most of them...and hides them in an old suitcase?No one even suspects Augie has a secret of his own until Lydie Rose Meisenheimer blows into town and signs up for sixth grade. Driving a broken-down convertible, wearing a black straw hat, and proclaiming herself Augie's new best friend, she turns his days into embarrassing nightmares.But she also fills his nights with bright-shining visions of Gypsies -- Gypsies who could make Augie's dreams come true...if only he'd dare to dream a little harder.The Gypsies Never Cameis a bold departure for well-known author Stephen Roos. It's the story of a boy who wants to belong, a story that will make you laugh, break your heart, and change the way you look at the world.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 4^-7. Born without a left hand, sixth-grader Augie Knapp is different from the other kids in Warsaw Junction. But does that mean, as Lydie Rose Meisenheimer claims, that Augie and she are birds of a feather? Augie, who longs to be normal, sure hopes not, since Lydie Rose, the new girl in school, is an eccentric outsider who glories in being different. She calls it "special" and assures Augie that things will be better for him when the Gypsies come: "They'll show you how special you are." Frankly Augie would settle for finding his father, a man he has never seen. Lydie is persistent, though, and despite himself, Augie starts dreaming about Gypsies and a mysterious man with black hair just like his. Moments of comedy mingle with magic and melancholy in this story of kids who learn to come to terms with their differences. Lydie is more a collection of tics and quirks than a believable character, but Augie proves to be an engaging, sympathetic protagonist worth caring about. --Michael Cart

Publisher's Weekly Review

Sixth-grader Augie, born with a deformed hand, does not even know his father's name. When a stranger shows up in his class and thwarts his attempts to fit in, gypsies begin to appear in his dreams. "Roos fills his story with enriching details, and Augie's palpable yearning couldn't be more human," wrote PW. Ages 8-12. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-9-A novel written in a lean and propulsive style that draws readers in even as it forces them to make their own determinations about the characters' motivations and feelings. Augie Knapp is a tough but emotionally wounded sixth grader growing up fatherless in Warsaw Junction, PA. The wounds come courtesy of that absent father, whose name Augie doesn't even know, and his birth defect: an almost nonexistent left hand, which he hides inside a stuffed, flesh-colored glove. Augie tries to fill his emptiness and to overcome the occasional hurts inflicted upon him by his sometimes thoughtless or bullying classmates by collecting "secrets"-letters, Christmas cards, report cards, and even condoms left in the pockets of clothes brought in to the laundry where he works after school. He loses his usually adept sense of balance when a new girl appears at school, the apparently much-too-old-for-sixth-grade Lydie Rose. Lydie is immediately drawn to the boy and insists that the gypsies, who will honor the "defect" that sets him apart, are coming to rescue him. The secondary characters-Augie's mother, his uncle, the family next door, his mother's boyfriend (who plays an important role in further wounding Augie)-breathe as secondary characters rarely do, and Roos's restraint in depicting them, almost journalistically, owes as much to the standards of adult literary fiction as to those for books written for children. The Gypsies Never Came deserves a wide and eager audience.-Coop Renner, Moreno Elementary School, El Paso, TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Chapter One It's early. The sun is barely clearing the eastern ridge. Augie Knapp stands under the leafless oak in the Warnkes' backyard. There's still snow on the ground, but he's wearing an undershirt and cutoffs, like it's the middle of July. On his left hand is a flesh-colored glove. The other hand is bare. "Kyle? You awake yet?" Like anyone could sleep through Augie's frogular croak. "Kyle! Come look!" Finally, a light goes on upstairs. The window flies open. A head leans out. "What the heck are you doing, Augie?" "Freezing my buns off." Augie laughs. "What's it look like I'm doing?" "Go back to bed and get some sleep, why don't you?" Kyle groans. "Been there, done that," Augie shouts back. But Kyle's already slammed the window shut. Augie leaps onto the lattice. Grabbing the cross-slats with his right hand, he hoists himself up the side of the Warnkes' house. When he reaches the second story, he sees Kyle on the other side of the glass. "Open up!" Kyle shakes his head. "No way!" he mouths. "I'll wake everyone in the neighborhood!" Augie croaks as he raps on the glass with the gloved hand. Slowly, Kyle opens the window again. "Give me a break, Augie. Let me get a little more sleep before school." "You don't need more sleep. It's March twenty-first. It's the first day of spring, Kyle. We need to go up the ridge and find out where the stream begins." "It's still winter," Kyle tells him. "The stream's still frozen, you jerk!" Augie hears wood crack. He feels the lattice giving way under him. "Help me!" he cries. Kyle reaches out and tries to grab him. Too late. The thin strips of wood are collapsing too fast. Augie's arms flail at the sill, at the TV cable, at anything to break his fall. Something catches the end of Augie's arm. He crashes to the ground. The wind knocked out of him, Augie lies spread-eagled in the snow. As he looks up, he sees Kyle leaning over the windowsill, his face scrunched up with worry. "Oh, gosh, Augie!" he shouts. "Are you hurt?" "Don't know yet," Augie gasps. "But you're not dead or anything, are you?" "Don't think so." He sees the glove. It's dangling on a nail. Suddenly his little smile evaporates. "My glove!" he cries out, sitting up suddenly. "I can do that," Kyle says. "Wait till I..." As Augie gets to his feet, he instinctively tucks his left arm behind him, out of Kyle's sight. He makes a jump for the glove, then another. The nail's too high up. He spots a snow shovel on the porch. Grabbing it with his good hand, he hurls the shovel into the air. It hits the side of the house, nudging the glove off the offending nail. Kyle opens the front door. The legs of his red flannel pajamas tucked into his snow boots, he bolts onto the porch. "Let me help," he says. "Got it," Augie says, picking the glove off the top of the snow. "Come in, Augie. Get warm," Kyle says. "Maybe we can go up the ridge later, if you feel like it." Shaking his head, Augie picks up the glove, examining it. It's all messed up. The fingers are ripped up, and the cotton stuffing's falling out. "I got to get home before my mom goes down to the beer company," he says anxiously. "She's going to be mad. I know it." With his good hand he leans what's left of the lattice and Kyle's mom's wisteria against the house. Then he heads home. Augie steps in from the cold. He breathes in the kitchen-warm smells of coffee mingling with burned toast. Uncle Emil sits at the table. He's in his U.S. Postal Service uniform, drinking his coffee. "What were you doing outside in that getup?" he asks, shaking his head. "It's spring," Augie says with a shrug. "Doesn't anyone around here ever look at a calendar?" "You're sure one funny kid," Emil says, sighing, "and I don't mean funny ha-ha, either." "Don't mind him, Augie," Augie's mom says as she grabs Emil's mug. "Hey, Honey, I wasn't through," Emil protests. "That's what you get for calling Augie funny," she says as she dumps what's left of Emil's coffee in the sink. Anyone can tell Uncle Emil and Honey are brother and sister. They have the same blond hair, same ruddy complexion. She's just a lot younger than he is. Wearing her Grateful Dead T-shirt and a denim skirt that barely reaches her knees, she could pass for a high school kid. (Sometimes, when she's acting more like a kid than a mom, Augie calls her by her first name. She doesn't seem to mind, as long as no one's around.) "You hurry, Augie," his mom says, pointing to the orange juice and cereal waiting for him on the table. "You don't want to be late for school." She closes the dishwasher door and turns the dial. The dishwasher thumps heavily into action. "Mom?" But the dishwasher's too loud. He knows she can't hear him. "Mom?" he asks, louder this time. Augie dangles the glove in the air. This time he catches her eye. "Oh, Augie," she groans. "How?" "It got caught on a nail." "A nail?" she asks suspiciously. "Don't blame me if people leave nails where they shouldn't," Augie says. "When are you going to that clinic over in Greenburgh?" Uncle Emil asks. "That place is for amputees," Augie protests. "I already told you." "They can still fit you with a hook, Augie," Uncle Emil says. "I checked. Free of charge, too. Government pays the whole thing." Augie feels the blood rushing to his face. "I'm not like those people." "Augie, I'm just trying -- " "You don't tell me what to do," Augie protests. "You're not my father." Emil grabs his coat from the hook by the back door. "If you got yourself a hook, you wouldn't need that silly glove," he says. "That's all I'm saying." "Please, Emil," Honey pleads. "Not now." Once Emil's gone, Honey takes a box from the cupboard. Inside are half a dozen left-hand gloves like the one Augie just ruined, plus a bag of cotton balls and another bag full of wire pieces. "Do it later," Augie tells her. "You don't have to be late for the beer company." "You plan to keep your hand in your pocket all day?" she asks as she makes up his new glove. He looks at the little ball of pink flesh at the end of his wrist. On it are little bumps of cartilage where the fingers were supposed to grow. "Just in the morning," Augie says. "At lunch, I'll take it out and watch the kids barf all over the place." "Augie, you shouldn't talk like that." "It's a joke." Augie shrugs. "I'm being funny." "Funny ha-ha or funny the other way?" she asks. Augie crosses his eyes and lets a little spit drool down his chin. "Can't someone be both?" he asks, putting on the new glove. Copyright © 2001 by Stephen Roos Excerpted from The Gypsies Never Came by Stephen Roos All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.