CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 8 . . . .December 8, 2006
Kip is a young athletic ‘tween who, with his friends Fraser, Vlad, and Caleb, forms the Daredevils. The Daredevils make a list of seven dangerous stunts that they vow to perform, the fourth of which results in severe injury to Kip. Undeterred, Kip undergoes physiotherapy and convinces his friends he is still their leader. When their rivals, the Wildmen, steal their seventh stunt, Kip changes it to a dangerous crawl along a bridge support beam 40 feet over a rocky lake. Fraser and Vlad team up with the Wildmen's leader to complete the stunt on their own. While Kip secretly watches them, he realizes from their conversation that they have excluded him because they fear for his safety. Rescuing Fraser from the inevitable fall onto the lake rocks below, Kip realizes what his friends mean to him. As Fraser recovers, the gang combines their efforts to organize a town carnival to save the fund-deprived physiotherapy clinic.
Pam Withers has created a mostly believable situation for a boy of Kip's age: an injured athlete who vows to return to his former self, and in doing so takes the same risks that injured him in the first place. Kip is self-possessed and determined, thumbing his nose (at least in his narration) at the entreaties of his largely-unaware parents, his physiotherapist Andrew, and the latter's straight-laced co-op student Elyse. Kip's relationships with his friends display complexity: he is constantly nervous that Fraser and Vlad want to kick him out - they eye his bad leg constantly - and is aware of timid Caleb's reliance on his leadership.
Todd Kyle is a former President of the Canadian Association of Children's Librarians who is currently a library branch manager in Mississauga, ON.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.