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Audrey Marsh
Illustrated by Elizabeth Owen
Halifax, Nimbus Publishers, 1991. 126pp, paper, $7.95
ISBN 0-921054-74-2. (NewWaves). CIP

Grades 5 to 7/Ages 10 to 12

Reviewed by Constance Hall.

Volume 20 Number 2
1992 March

Orphy is an otter and a good friend to Amos, an orphan who lives with Jeff and Becky Wilson in Willowdale, Nova Scotia, during the 1700s. Audrey Marsh started writing about the Loyalists and Amos Elliot in 1984. In Amos and Orphy, the reader will find some of the same characters as in the recently published Amos and the Bear, including his friend Percy Carter, Kate Chisholm, her young daughter Patience and their friend, Yvette. While fishing, Percy and Amos rescue Orphy, also an orphan, who becomes a central character in several episodes in the book. Through his antics, Orphy finds his way not only into everyone's heart in the community but also into Aunt Becky's kitchen, with some amusing results. His loyalty, though, is proven later in the story.

When Patience gets lost in the woods accompanied only by Orphy, Amos and Percy set out to find her by themselves with the help of the family dog, Ruff. Although the two boys succeed where the adults fail, Mr. Wilson warns Amos to think carefully before he acts, as he could have easily got hurt. Later in the book, as he runs errands for Mr. Wilson, Amos himself gets lost in the woods after dark. His rescue presents one awkward moment in the story, when the Micmacs who find Amos tell him "to show us where Yvette lives." He is able to guide thorn there in the darkness. Since the new school teacher, John Newberry, an amateur veterinarian and doctor, is at the house where Yvette lives, he sees that Amos gets home. It is Mr. Newberry who helps Amos in the process of coming of age, encouraging him to further his education.

There is an emphasis throughout the story on some important values such as neighbours helping neighbours, friend­ship and family life as well as the love and respect for animals. Readers who enjoy animal stories will appreciate the excitement and suspense in this book.

Constance Hall, Hamilton, Ont.
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