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Jean-Pierre Guillet
Illustrated by Huguette Marquis; translated by Patricia Claxton
Waterloo (Que.), Quintin Publishers, 1994. 96pp, paper, $5.95
ISBN 2-89435-016-3. CIP

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-12

Reviewed by Linda Holeman

Volume 22 Number 5
1994 October

This short novel is the third title in the "Junior Nature" series - a set of first novels dealing with children and their concern for nature and animals.

Ten-year-old Will and his sister Julie, thirteen, play junior detectives in this mystery novel. There are some puzzling incidents: their elderly neighbour is exhibiting sudden strange behaviour, they spy a tank truck in the deserted woods near their home, and they find a beautiful peregrine falcon that is unable to fly properly.

Will and Julie rescue the hurt bird and set out on a bit of sleuthing. They are determined to find out who is dumping something smelly and orange in the swamp near their home; they suspect the viscous material may be causing the unusual behaviours. The dumping seems particularly curious, considering they have a local recycling plant that is very concerned with keeping the environment clean.

While the plot of The Cliff Case is fairly fast-moving, in a number of instances the vocabulary feels stilted, using phrases that seem inappropriate and/or old-fashioned. As well, there is a fair amount of "telling" of information by the adults in the story, giving a preachy feeling to the environmental issues discussed.

Optional purchase.

Linda Holeman, a former elementary teacher, now writes full-time in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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