________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 8 . . . . December 7, 2007


Dangerous Crossings!: Ten Daring Treks Across Land, Sea, and Air. (True Stories From the Edge).

Antonia Banyard.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 2007.
146 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $18.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55451-085-6 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55451-086-3 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
Adventure and adventurers-Juvenile literature.
Voyages and travel-Juvenile literature.

Grades 5-7 / Ages 10-12.

Review by Elizabeth Larssen.

***½ /4


“Ah, this is the life,” thought Thor Heyerdahl and lay back down on the deck. The sun warmed him from above and waves lapped gently against the raft. His five fellow rafters were passing the time much like he was – loafing. Maybe later he'd try catching a fat gold-finned tunny, or read a book, or maybe he'd just lie here, gazing at the cloud.

Then the wind picked up. A storm was blowing in.

“Man Overboard!”

All thoughts of the fast-approaching storm vanished at the sound of those words. Heyerdahl could see, just off the bow, his crewmate Herman Watzinger bobbing in the water, and a strange greenish blob swirling in the depths near him. Was it a shark? An unknown creature from the deep? Watzinger's head disappeared behind a rising wave. There was no time to lose.

Vancouver writer Antonia Banyard is sure to please readers who enjoy thrilling action and adventure stories. Her most recent effort, Dangerous Crossings!, is her first work for young readers. Although it is a little spare on Canadian content, the exhilarating stories from around the globe are sure to be a hit with boys who are reluctant readers. Each of the 10 chapters involves a completely different story, making each tale readable and enjoyable without being overly taxing. The stories are set in such varied places as Australia in the 1930s to French Guiana in the 18th century to Central Africa in the 19th century. There are exciting adventures on the high seas, in the skies and in war zones. The historical aspect can be useful to tie in concepts for class use, and the stories are short enough that they could be read aloud if desired. That said, this book is more likely to be used for recreational reading than for class projects. It would make a good option to keep around the classroom for silent reading periods for students who don't have reading material.

     The main downside to the book lies with the cover art. While we all may know the truism not to judge a book by its cover, many children inevitably do. Cover art should look as appealing as possible, and unfortunately, many Canadian publishers fall short in this department when compared to their American counterparts. This is unfortunate because many students who would likely enjoy the book may never pick it up. Teachers and librarians who are willing to promote the book will find it a worthy addition to their collection.

Highly Recommended.

Elizabeth Larssen recently graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in Library and Information Studies.

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

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