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Skidd, David
Palm Desert (Calif.), Midnight Ink, 1993.
130pp, paper $5.95, ISBN 0-963 214-0-8.
(Alaska Highway Adventure series).

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12

Reviewed by Ila D. Scott

Volume 22 Number 1
1994 January / February

Three California teenagers, Ashley, Jonathan and Matthew Adams, all of undisclosed age, are enjoying a visit to the Yukon when their heart surgeon father is called away on an emergency.

While escaping a grizzly up a tree they discover a mysterious secret message. Decoding the message leads the children into an episodic series of adventures, each more unbelievable than the last. The children discover an underground cavern with a river in it and a secret exit from the cavern. They encounter drug smugglers, survive a plane crash caused by a bomb, and hike miles unaccompanied in the wilderness with seemingly little effort. Additional characters seem to be briefly introduced into scenes for little or no reason; however, often the same sketchy introduction is reserved for pivotal characters.

This story has not one but two ongoing mysteries. Unfortunately, instead of making it more exciting, the opposite effect has resulted. In this, his first work for young people, it is obvious that the author knows and loves the Yukon landscape, and he has tried to bring that land into the awareness of young readers. However, the faults of plot, narrative and characterization make this story difficult to read, to understand and to feel a part of.

Not Recommended.

Ila D. Scott is Assistant Reference/Collections Librarian at the Herbert T. Coutts Library, University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Alberta

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