In books like Buried Onions and Boys at Work Gary Soto displays a gift for revealing the tough, heart-breaking life of contemporary urban kids. In Petty Crimes, Soto offers 10 stories about the risky situations and dangerous little scams faced by young people growing up on the harsh streets of the city. Meet Alma, who can accept her mother's death from cancer, but not the loss of her mother's clothes to local charities. Cheer for Rudy, who learns some rude lessons about himself in the boxing ring. And struggle with Norma, whose chance to take care of her classroom's "baby" shows her just how difficult it is to keep someone safe. Through these and seven other sometimes funny, sometimes tragic stories, Soto chronicles inner-city youths as they strive for something more from their lives-and confront the limitations of their futures. Robert Ramirez's energetic narration captures each memorable character and event.