________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 8 . . . . December 10, 2004


Flight From Bear Canyon. (Orca Young Readers).

Anita Daher.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2004.
122 pp., pbk., $7.95.
ISBN 1-55143-326-5.

Subject Headings:
Aircraft accidents-Juvenile fiction.
Rescues-Juvenile fiction.
Bears-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by Mary Thomas.

*** /4


It was as if they'd suddenly jumped into another world---like in the Narnia books when those kids went into a closet and came out in a land of magic. Kaylee half expected to see a goat-boy. But instead of a lamppost in the middle of the woods, a small waterfall cascaded down the rock beside them, trickling into a stream of water, jumbling over rounded stones of white and gray and disappearing into a tangle of trees.

"Blaghh!" Kaylee said, holding her nose. "What died?"

"I know that smell," Jaz said, sniffing. "It's sulphur. I'll bet there's a hot spring near here."

Kaylee had read about a couple of hot springs near the South Nahanni River, but they weren't anywhere near Hidden Lodge.

She turned to Jaz. "How far did we crawl?"

The other girl shrugged. "I dunno. Should we check it out?"

Kaylee looked longingly at the pretty creek edged by spongy green moss and sniffed deeply, wondering where the hot spring was hidden. She liked exploring better than almost anything. She and Sausage had spent many hours in the woods at Booker Bay.

She shook her head.

The last time readers saw Kaylee (Flight from Big Tangle), she was flying solo in her mother's Cessna in order to escape from a wildfire that was about to engulf their small home by a northern lake. Now she is visiting her mother's friend Jack and his niece at a soon-to-be tourist lodge on the South Nahanni River in BC. That she didn't really want to be there was not the best basis for friendship with Jaz (short for Jasmine), but, on the whole, the two girls got on pretty well until Jaz suggested that Kaylee's mother might be prepared to move forward from the death of Kaylee's father and consider Uncle Jack as a possible second husband. The resulting argument was why only Kaylee and her basset hound Sausage were available to go with Jack in his helicopter to observe and photograph the group of grizzly bears feasting on the carcases of four drowned cariboo at the mouth of the river. Not to give away the story, suffice it to say that Kaylee ends up hiking over, and through, bear-infested mountains as well as flying. There is an attempt to introduce an element of mystery by means of the story of a couple of brothers, one of whom died in the mountains, and the other who turned up after being missing for years, saying he had found paradise, but then died without ever explaining what he meant. The two girls solve the mystery quite handily, but more by luck than deep thinking.

     Flight from Bear Canyon is a good, straightforward adventure story, exciting and fast-paced. It keeps the pages turning furiously and, since the action takes place in less than a fortnight, it can be forgiven for its lack of much real character development. There are also rather too many coincidences needed to arrive at the resolution of the main plot as well as the brothers' mystery, but at least it doesn't finish to the sound of wedding bells. If Kaylee's mother and Uncle Jack are going to get together, we'll have to have another book or two in the series to accomplish it. And that is okay by me.


Mary Thomas works in two Winnipeg, MB, elementary school libraries and enjoys the interaction both with the books and the children.

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

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