CM . . .
. Volume XVIII Number 9. . . .October 28, 2011
Twelve-year-old Robin, her older sister Ari, younger brother Squirm, and veterinarian father are grieving the recent loss of their mother and wife. In an attempt to gain some much-needed stability, Dad decides they will relocate to the Ontario cottage country to live with his mother. Ari and Squirm seem to make new friends easily, but Robin (who has trained herself to remain aloof from others since her mother's death) has trouble adjusting. Her fear of water, a female classmate who bullies her, and sibling issues with Ari all add to Robin's difficulties. Then her dog falls through ice (bringing on early labour and delivery of her pups), and Robin realizes her true callingórescuing and caring for animals. And although she never advertises her skills, Robin soon finds herself caring other animals, a situation which eventually brings the sheriff to her door, demanding that she close her unlicensed shelter.
Hood-Caddy has created a believable scenario involving contemporary kids who do their best to deal with real-world problems. Ari falls for the good-looking-but-bad-news boy next door; Robin's friends, Zo-Zo and Brodie, both come from one-parent families; and Squirm deals with severe asthma. Yet none of these issues overwhelms the plot; these situations simply exist so the characters cope with them. Less successful is the depiction of Robin's dad, who appears deeply concerned about the animals he cares for, yet is also quick to punish his daughter's activities in support of the rule-conscious sheriff.
Kay Weisman is a Master of Arts in Children's Literature candidate at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC.
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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.