CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Raymond Bradbury.

Toronto, Kids Can Press, c1983.
158pp, paper, $4.95.
ISBN 0-919964-47-8.

Grades 4 and up.
Reviewed by Pauline Henaut.

Volume 12 Number 2
1984 March

Jess and Ian Cameron travel by train from Toronto to Gull Bay on the East Coast in order to spend the summer with their cousins and their aunt who owns the local inn. During the trip they observe two interesting characters, Mr. Kerensky, whom Jess, an avid fan of spy thrillers, imagines to be a Russian spy, and Miss Fotheringham, who, Jess decides, is a government agent assigned to watch Kerensky. When Kerensky and Fotheringham both turn out to be guests at the inn and are involved in mysterious events, the young reader seems to be assured of an exciting reading experience.

Unfortunately, however, this novel does not live up to the promise shown in Bradbury's first book, The War at Fort Maggie.* The theme, although not unique, is a good one but somehow the story lacks impact: too many mysterious happenings occur too closely in succession, and too little time is given to setting the stage for them; as a result the reader becomes numb instead of experiencing steadily mounting tension. The characters, although not well-differentiated, are believable, and the author has mastered the difficult task of making conversation, especially that of young people, effective. Physically the book is sturdy and attractive.

Tighter editorial control would have ensured a much more successful effort. Recommended with reservations.

*Reviewed vol. X/4 November 1982 p.230.

Pauline Henaut, Westville Schools, Westville, NS.
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