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Skidd, David
Palm Desert (Calif.), Midnight Ink, 1993.
142pp, paper, $5.95, ISBN 0-9636214-1-6.
(Alaska Highway Adventure series).

Subject Heading:
Alaska Highway-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12

Reviewed by Ila D. Scott

Volume 22 Number 1
1994 January / February

In the second book of this series the Adams teenagers are back in the Yukon for a wilderness camping trip without their father. Once again they stumble on a dangerous mystery. Someone is killing bears and dumping the bodies without taking the meat or the hides.

The twins, Ashley and Jonathan, and their younger brother Matthew, together with a native boy named Jim, immediately set out to solve the mystery. The children also encounter the spirit people, the Ahlone, who help them in their quest to bring the poachers to justice.

This story is better than its predecessor in the series; however, there is still room for improvement. The theme of bear poaching is a good idea since this is a serious problem in Canada today. Using the Ahlone in the story is also a good one since native spirituality is a theme that is not well explored in children's literature, but there is some difficulty in the believability of it all when juxtaposed with the realism of high-speed boat and helicopter chases and the fax/printer/cellular phone/computer.

The Adam's children are likeable and interesting and seem to be more resourceful and intelligent than most of the available adults. The author attempts to convey the magnificence of the Yukon landscape but loses his direction in such nonsensical sentences as "The sky's brilliant blue collided with the tops of the mountains without warning."

Nevertheless, young readers might like this fast-paced adventure, which takes place in a part of our country that, sadly, most Canadians will never see.

Optional purchase.

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

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