________________ CM . . . . Volume IX Number 14. . . . March 14, 2003

cover Keeping Secrets at Dark Creek. (StableMates, #7).

Nikki Tate.
Victoria, BC: Sono Nis Press, 2002.
142 pp., pbk., $7.95.
ISBN 1-55039-123-2.

Grades 4-6 / Ages 9-11.

Review by Christina Pike.

*** /4


"Good morning, Miss?..."

Jessa's cheeks burned. Why had she been late on her first day? She glanced around the classroom, looking for a sympathetic face. At least half the kids she had never seen before. She caught a glimpse of Midori and Rachel, friends she knew from Grade Six at Kenwood Elementary. Midori bobbed her head ever so slightly and Jessa felt as little less alone. But only for a moment.

"As I was saying, I expect you all to hand your assignments in promptly and to be prepared when you come to class. I shouldn't need to add that I expect you all to be on time."

A couple of kids behind Jessa stifled snickers.

"Miss Richardson- Jessa. Would you please come up to the front..."

For one dreadful moment Jessa thought he was going to punish her in front of the class, or make her tell everyone what she had done over the summer vacation, or ... She felt quite faint and reached out to touch her desk to steady herself.

Keeping Secrets at Dark Creek, the seventh book in the "StableMates" series, tells the story of Jessa Robinson and her experiences at Kenwood Middle School. Recently diagnosed with diabetes, Jessa is trying to fit into her new school, deal with her diabetes and find a way to handle her disappointment of not being able to ride Rebel anymore. To keep her mind off her troubles, Jessa and her best friend, Cheryl Waters, try to uncover the mystery of the Railway Watch as well as to try and figure out why Andrew doesn't want anyone to know about his riding.

     A veteran writer, Nikki Tate has successfully created a story that is intriguing. The characters are believable grade six students who have worries that are very real to someone that age. With the added twist of a mystery, the story becomes complicated. It is not just about being in Grade Six and coping with this stress but about so much more. Through her story, Tate is also writing about tolerance and acceptance of others' differences.

     A nice story and a good read.


Christina Pike is a Learning Resource and English teacher at Ascension Collegiate, Bay Roberts, NL.


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

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364