Excellent MG story. Eleven-year-old Robert is the only one who suspects the stranger in town is...not what he seems.
This story by Arthur Slade takes place in the Canada, during their Dust Bowl of the 1930s. I could almost taste the dust from Slade's descriptive writing. One day Robert's younger brother Matthew sets off to walk to town with his parents to follow a few minutes later. Matthew never reaches town. He's gone.
That same day a stranger appears who promises he can make rain. Only Robert and his Uncle Alden are skeptical. Robert's parents fall into line with the rest of the town and in the process seem to forget entirely about the missing Matthew and two other missing children. Then strange things begin happening...
Eerie, fascinating, compelling.
An easy read for adults and middle graders should enjoy it as well.