CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 41. . . .June 25, 2010.
The Fossil Hunters of Sydney Mines.
Jo Ann Yhard.
Halifax, NS: Nimbus, 2010.
169 pp., pbk., $10.95.
Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.
Review by Inderjit Deogun.
"What do you mean, 'sort of'í?" She stood up gingerly and stepped over the piles of rubble to a smoother spot on the ground. She heard a sniffle and her eyes swung wildly in the direction from where it came. Her eyes finally adjusted to the dark and she saw Mai sitting curled up against the wall in a corner.
Crouching down beside her, Grace wrapped her arm around Mai's shoulders. "Shhh...it's okay," she whispered.
"Sorry, Grace," Mai muttered, rubbing her face. "I'm not brave like you are. I'm scared."
You've got it all wrong, Mai, Grace thought. I'm not brave at all. She brushed the hair back from Mai's face and tucked it behind her ear. "Don't be sorry. This is my fault. I should never have asked you guys to come here." Guilt clawed the inside of Grace's stomach as she looked at her two best friends' wide and terrified eyes.
Itís been three months since 13-year-old Grace lost her father in a tragic car accident. The memories of fossil hunting at Point Aconi, Cape Breton, with her father haunt her days and nights. In fact, the loss is so overwhelming that Grace always wears the Dalhousie University baseball cap given her by her father.
When Grace receives a mysterious note regarding her fatherís death, she leaps into action without hesitation. With her trusty friends ó Fred, Mai and Jeeter ó by her side, Grace begins to investigate her fatherís suspicious car accident. Their top secret detective work brings them face-to-face with abandoned mine shafts and dangerous sinkholes.
Jo Ann Yhard weaves a tale brimming with suspense. Though the basic plot is by no means original, Yhard substantiates the worth of her story with a group of diverse and interesting characters. These characters and their relationships with one another are what propel the story forward. Their unwavering determination to help Grace in her pursuit for the truth is admired by the reader.
Inderjit Deogun, of Toronto, ON, is currently pursuing a career in publishing with a particular interest in childrenís literature.
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