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Archer, Colleen Rutherford.

Moonbeam (Ont.), Penumbra Press, c1986. 43pp, paper, $6.95, ISBN 0-920806-75-9.

Grades 5-8
Reviewed by Maryleah Otto

Volume 14 Number 5
1986 September

Mark Crowe, a fourteen-year old motherless Kwakiutl Indian boy, spends the summers on Salmon Island, British Columbia, where his father Daniel carves traditional artifacts for museums. Hoping to ease his son's loneliness, Daniel buys a Nova Scotia duck-tolling retriever puppy to keep him company. The dog, Foxy, grows into a show-quality animal and soon catches the eye of a wealthy tourist, Mr. Slaughter, from Vancouver, who offers $5000 for him. Thwarted by Mark's refusal to sell his pet, Slaughter steals a valuable carving from Daniel in an attempt to force the sale of Foxy to make up the loss. A breathless cops-and-robbers chase, in which the thief is exposed and Foxy is re-united with Mark, brings the adventure to a happy ending.

Colleen Archer has written a fine short novel for the ten to fourteen age group. Her sensitivity to the value of native Canadian Indian cultural traditions blends comfortably with the contemporary storyline. A few words may be unfamiliar: "madrone," "grilse," -salal," and "tolling." A reference to the possibility of Daniel being an alcoholic could be construed as stereotypical, but I hope not, because the drinking incident is perfectly believable within the context. Suzanne Wood's cover illustration makes the book visually attractive.

Maryleah Otto, Etobicoke P.L., Etobicoke, Ont.
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