________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 17 . . . . April 28, 2006


Avalanche. (New Series Canada).

Paul Kropp.
Toronto, ON: High Interest Publishing, 2005.
91 pp., pbk., $9.95.
ISBN 1-897039-07-7.

Subject Headings:
Avalanche - Juvenile fiction.
Teenagers and death - Juvenile fiction.

Grades 7-10 / Ages 12-15.

Review by Deborah Mervold.

**** /4


“You’re almost there,” Tom called up.

It was true. Noah had forced himself up the entire rock mountain. He’d gone up one terrifying step at a time. Now he could see the pulley up at the top. Just a few more steps . . .

“You did it!” Tom called up.

Noah couldn’t speak. He was up at the roof level of The Rock Gym, looking down – way down. Every muscle hurt. His breath was short and his chest ached. He looked down and it was as if his head were spinning. But hey, I did it! he said to himself.


Noah and Tom have been friends forever. They also say that they will be friends until the end. They are totally opposite. Tom is athletic and popular while Noah is cautious and studious. Noah often tries athletic activities but ends up injured. When Tom convinces Noah to go with a school group on a winter camping trip, Noah has many reservations. He is finally persuaded when Mike calls him a wuss, and, to dispel that notion, Noah says he will go. The two friends start a training program including rock climbing. Brooke, one of the popular girls whom Noah likes, is also going. The threat of avalanches is only moderate, but the camping trip hits some bad weather, and some of the group have foreboding about continuing. When the five girls, ten boys and three chaperones ski and then snowshoe to where they will put their tents, everyone is tired and satisfied with their winter experience. The three adults have been in discussion about turning back because they hear cracking and are worried about the avalanche possibility even though it is still only a yellow warning.

     Noah and Brooke plan to meet early in the morning to talk. After Mike hears voices and goes to investigate, a gigantic crack is heard and an avalanche occurs. A couple also winter camping hear the avalanche and see it advancing on the teenagers. They race to help as the teenagers and their tents are swept away. More help arrives as time runs out for the group. Fourteen are rescued alive while four of the group perish. 

     This title, part of the hi-lo “New Series Canada,” has a plot which moves along very quickly. All of the students do not survive, a situation which allows for discussion and thought as the grieving parents threaten to sue and Noah must face Brooke’s death. The dialogue is realistic, and the characters are plausible. Vocabulary is suitable for the intended audience  This would be a popular series for students requiring high interest material. Drawings add interest to the text.

     Avalanche is recommended for public, school and personal libraries.  

Highly Recommended.

Deborah Mervold, a retired teacher-librarian, educator and Resource Based Learning Consultant, lives in Shellbrook, SK.


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

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