________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 15 . . . . March 20, 2009

cover Pilot Error.

M.D. Meyer.
Flin Flon, MB: Goldrock Press, 2008.
71 pp., hardcover, $19.95.
ISBN 978-0-9782127-8-0.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Tanya Boudreau.

** /4


The day seemed to go on forever. Going to the cemetery was the worst part. I felt as if I was losing at a PS3 game. If I just knew the cheat for it, maybe I could get us all out of this mess.

But I knew it was no game. This was for real. My dad was dead.

I haven't cried. Not once. Katie is such a baby. She cries all the time. Rosalee looks like mom — kind of in a daze or something. She's usually real bossy; it's weirding me out to have her acting so nice towards me all the time.

Everybody keeps telling me how proud my dad would be- what a good support I am being to my mom. I've been staying pretty close to her, not hanging out with my friends like I usually do. I don't know if anything I'm doing is really helping, though.

Everyone thinks Bill Martin is dead. His family has buried him. The police have given his wife his personal belongings, and the case involving his plane crash has been closed. Eleven-year-old Andrew Martin isn't convinced it was his dad who died in the plane crash though. His dad was an expert pilot and kept his plane in good condition. And it certainly doesn't sit well with Andrew knowing that Constable Beardy was the person in charge of the investigation into his father's plane crash. This is a man who would kill for money. Andrew will not believe that his dad died because of a "pilot error."

     While Andrew's mom and sisters are mourning the loss of a loving husband and father, Andrew and his friend Joshua decide to go back to the crash site and do their own investigating. While traveling the same route his father took the day of the plane crash, Andrew and his friend trek through old mining sites and cross rivers and lakes. They dodge a bear and ignore warnings to stay away from the crash site. As they get closer to the crash site, they wonder if the plane was hijacked or sabotaged. They ask themselves if someone else could have been flying the plane and if so, why was it purposely set on fire? But it's not until Andrew and Joshua overhear someone say, "Still alive down there, Martin?" that the answers become clear to them.

     Although Pilot Error is only 71 pages in length, it's a story full of suspense. As the boys get closer to the crash site (and the truth) the danger increases. Fast-thinkers, they both get away from danger though (whether a bear or a criminal) and manage to save not just one person, but two.

     Although this story was suspenseful, I found the story rushed at the end. In addition, two events in the book didn't seem to fit with the rest of the story. Andrew and Constable Beardy act out of character in two instances. Their emotions change too quickly, and they behave in ways that I didn't find believable.

     M.D. Meyer is married to a man who enjoys telling stories, especially to their grandchildren. The author of the books Colin's Choice, Get Lost! and Meet Manitoba Children's Authors, Dorene has a Bachelor's of Arts Degree and a diploma in Developmental Services. She teaches classes in writing.

Recommended with reservations.

Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.

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

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