"Twelve-year-old biracial James has grown up in a musical family. Not only are both of his parents musicians, but his four grandparents are as well. Everyone assumes that James will pursue music, yet he would rather become a newspaper reporter...or an
astronomer...or a cook...anything that will let him leave music behind and be his own self.
"Everything changes when, on a family visit to London, James discovers a portal that leads to London in the year 1600, then finds himself unable to return to the point in time he had left behind. James is forced to join the Children of the Chapel Royal,
a group that performs for the queen of England, and the musical talents he denied are now put to the test and pushed to their limits. In this alternate world James comes to realize that he cannot survive and get back to the twenty-first century without
recognizing, understanding, and making the most of his musical gifts."
But, even decades ago, Curry's writing was evolving in pretty amazing ways - I wish I had read some of the books. See these descriptions:
"The Big Smith Snatch" (1989)
"When their pregnant mother gets sick on the eve of their move from California to Pennsylvania, the four younger Smith children find themselves in the custody of the city leaving their twelve-year-old sister Boo, with the help of eccentric old Auntie
Moss, to somehow trace their whereabouts."
And, in 1993:
"The Great Smith House Hustle"
"Just after moving into their grandmother's house in Pittsburgh, the five Smith children must uncover a long-standing scam to steal the houses of old people before Grandma Smith loses her home."
(Given the British title of her 1970 book, I wonder if there's some sort of connection? Or is her 1993 book based on a true story?)