________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 1 . . . . September 3, 2004


Flight From Big Tangle. (Orca Young Reader).

Anita Daher.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2002.
134 pp., pbk., $6.95.
ISBN 1-55143-234-X.

Subject Heading:
Airtankers (Forest fire control)-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 4-8 / Ages 9-13.

Review by Mary Thomas.

*** /4


The cabin of the small float plane was hot, yet Kaylee shivered. Her head pounded. Her stomach loop-de-looped as if she were on a Ferris wheel. If her mom didn't land the plane now, Kaylee was going to throw up. If anything, this time was worse than the last.

"You're looking a bit green, Kaylee," her mother said into her headset mike.

Kaylee pushed her own mike to the side and nodded weakly, her long black hair damp and sticking to her cheek and neck.

It had never been like this when Dad was around.


The opening of Flight from Big Tangle is not perfect reading material for a slightly bumpy flight from Winnipeg to Toronto! Luckily the whole book is not about being sick in airplanes, but rather it is about coming to grips with altered circumstances and using the experience to emerge a stronger person.

     When Kaylee's father disappeared while piloting a Medevac flight in the Caribbean, it changed Kaylee's whole life. Instead of spending six months in Canada and six based in St. Lucia each year, being home-schooled, always having at least one parent with time to spend with her, and, incidentally, loving everything to do with airplanes and flying, Kaylee and her mother are living year-round at their summer place in northern Ontario while her mother frantically takes courses to improve her qualifications and supports them by flying water bombers when required during forest-fire season. Kaylee was bused into town to attend the local school during the winter. And flying now makes her sick to her stomach. The only positive change is that she has a dog of her own, Sausage, and a lot of gorgeous country to explore. It's a lonely life for an 11-year-old, even with a couple of good, albeit elderly, neighbours, but it turns into an all-too-exciting one when lightening starts a sudden forest fire in the bush near their home and Kaylee has to face her fear of flying if she is to save herself, her dog, and her neighbour.

     This is a very gripping book that reads rather like a fortunately/unfortunately story. Unfortunately, Sausage had injured his foot by catching it in a trap so that he wasn't with Kaylee on her hike the day of the fire. Fortunately, she and her mother had a system for indicating what area she'd be exploring. Unfortunately, she was diverted from that area. Fortunately, she stumbled on a hydro cut through the bush when she had, unfortunately, missed her path home. Unfortunately, the cut brought her out of the bush close to town but a long way from home where Sausage was, still unfortunately, shut in the cottage. Fortunately, there was a bicycle...and so it goes to its final, fortunate, conclusion. The style is guaranteed to keep a young reader on the edge of his/her chair, especially once the action gets started. A bit too much is made of the way Kaylee's personal relations with her mother had deteriorated since her father's presumed death, but they do set the stage for a great adventure story.


Mary Thomas works in elementary schools in Winnipeg, MB, and her summer cottage is in southern Ontario where, fortunately, there has been enough rain for the moment.

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

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.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.