________________ CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 17. . . .January 4, 2013


Terror on Turtle Creek.

Jean Freeman. Illustrated by RoseMarie Condon.
Regina, SK: Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing, 2012.
139 pp., pbk., $14.95.
ISBN 978-1-894431-77-4.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by Laura Dick.

**½ /4



Barry’s first instinct, when he discovered he was drifting away in the rain and the mist, was to call for help. He opened his mouth to shout, “Help, somebody save me!” but then he closed it again – he was already too far from shore for anyone to hear him over the steady roar of the swollen river.

He looked frantically around the boat for an oar, thinking he might be able to guide the little craft to shore as it drifted along in the rushing current. There were no oars.


Terror on Turtle Creek is a bit surprising, but in a good way. The cover and the title led me to expect a straightforward tale of a young boy who foolishly climbs into a rowboat and gets swept up by the tide, only to find himself in need of rescue as he floats out to sea. What I found was a much more interesting and complicated story about a young boy who does, indeed, climb into a rowboat and find himself adrift, but it’s also a story about a boy who manages to redeem himself in a big way.

     Barry is the youngest of five, the baby of the family, and he’s had enough of always being left out of things and being too young to do anything important. When a flood threatens Valley View, the city where he lives with his family, it seems like everyone else in town has a job to do but him. When an announcement is made at school asking for volunteers to fill sandbanks to shore up the town’s levees, Barry offers to help. While helping out, Barry wanders away from the group and decides to climb over the levee and hop into a rowboat tied up along the shore. Of course, the rowboat drifts off into the river, and Barry finds himself stranded in the boat in a heavy downpour without anyone in sight.

     This could have been the story, and there have been many books about kids making foolish choices and living with the consequences while they await rescue. Barry’s story, however, takes a different turn. The river’s current is too strong for the rowboat, and it is soon swamped and sinks. Barry finds himself in the river and being sucked under by the current. Popping back up to the surface, he is slammed into a wall, which turns out to belong to a house that has become surrounded by water. Barry is able to climb into a window of the house and soon discovers four scared young children who are hiding in the house awaiting rescue. Now, it’s Barry’s turn to be the big brother and put the needs of the children before his own.

     With straightforward dialogue, an interesting plot and fairly well developed characters, Terror on Turtle Creek will appeal to readers who are looking for a bit of adventure and excitement.


Laura Dick, who is trying to raise four teenagers while attempting to maintain her sanity, escapes to work as a branch manager at a mid-sized public library in Southwestern Ontario.

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

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