Anyway...The Cookcamp is the first in the Alida series, but the last one I read. It doesn't really matter in which order you read them, but just read them. They do seem to get better as they progress in the series, but all of them are wonderful. The Boy is just a little boy and is sent to live with his grandmother as she works in Cookcamp, feeding men who are building a road in Northern Minnesota during WW2. They describe themselves as "too old to be soldiers, but we can build roads." I loved the prologue. And I love the way The Boy looks at his grandma and the way she loves him. And I loved the chipmunk scene and the Thimble Boy scene. Although I do wonder what happened to the thimble itself.
Great, great book and great, great series.