________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 21 . . . . June 8, 2007


Lucky’s Mountain. (Orca Young Readers).

Dianne Maycock.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2007.
105 pp., pbk., $7.95.     
ISBN 978-1-55143-682-1.

Grades 4-6 / Ages 9-11.

Review by Wendy Williams.

** /4


Anger crackled through Maggie like a fast-spreading brush fire. How dare he? How dare he think that a cat, even the sweetest little orange-spotted cat, could ever take Lucky's place?

Maggie Sullivan is the emotional and spunky heroine of this fast-paced story, and Lucky’s Mountain gets right into the cause of Maggie's turmoil. Her father has just been killed in a mining accident, and she, her sister and her mother will have to move from their mining town home to live with an aunt who runs a boarding house in Vancouver. But the emotional flashpoint for Maggie is that her adored mutt, Lucky, who has only three legs, a huge heart, and the spirit of a pedigree, will have to be left behind. It is this horrible situation that makes Maggie hate her mother, get into fights with Jock, a boy in her school, and generally behave like an amateur tragedy queen.

     Maggie's mother insists that Maggie offer her dog to the students at her school, and when no offer comes forward, her mother again insists that Lucky has to go to Crazy Louie, a mysterious man with a disfigured face, who lives alone in the woods. But, through a series of encounters, Maggie is forced to realize that Crazy Louie has a rare gift for dealing with animals, and that behind the frightening face is a man with insight and kindness. As the last days of her life in her old town flash quickly past, Maggie discovers that help can come from the most unexpected places, and in Crazy Louie, she has found the best home possible for Lucky. In return, Crazy Louie gives her a darling kitten which will go with her to her new home in Vancouver.

     This is fast moving book, easy to read, with clear print. Although the book is supposed to be set in 1935 (according to the information sheet), there is little evidence or clue to this fact in the story. There is also little evidence of a Canadian setting, and the mining aspect of the town is skipped over fairly quickly. I also found that Maggie's adventures, including finding a nugget of gold, meeting the boss of the mine, falling down a cliff, getting into a fight with a fellow student, nearly falling out with her best friend, fighting with her mother and sister, etc., meant that there was little opportunity to explore Maggie's feelings of loss and betrayal. But perhaps I am being too critical because most successful children's books feature parents who have died, tough situations for young children, and the overwhelming love for loyal pets. I look forward to getting comments on Lucky's Mountain from the students at my school.


Wendy Williams, a school librarian in Calgary, AB, is a confessed bookworm.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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