________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 10. . . .November 6, 2015


Avalanche! (Survival).

Frieda Wishinsky. Illustrated by Norman Lanting.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2015.
107 pp., trade pbk., ebbok & Apple edition, $6.99 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-4431-4638-8 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4431-4639-5 (ebook), ISBN 978-1-4431-4640-1 (Apple edition).

Grades 4-9 / Ages 9-14.

Review by Deborah Mervold.

**** /4


It had snowed for three days straight but now the sun sparkled. The air was crisp and cold but there was no wind. The firm, slightly wet snow was just right for building a fort. And now that Owen had joined them, they might finish the fort before dark.

They were working so hard on the last wall of the fort that at first only Alex heard the rumble. He looked up as the noise grew louder. Closer. It sounded like a speeding train but there were no trains in Glory.


Alex, his parents and his younger nine-year-old sister, Emma move from Halifax to Glory, BC. Alex misses his old friends and their adventures building snow forts. He is determined to build the best snow fort ever and starts making plans. When Alex starts in his new middle school, he is bullied by Owen who teases him continually, calling him the "new boy". During the fall, Ben moves to Glory from California, and Alex and Ben become friends and plan to build their snow fort as soon as they have enough snow. They wait patiently as it snows and then melts. Finally, there is enough snow, and they can start. They are hurrying to finish before dark when Owen comes over and asks if he can help. His aunt and uncle live next door, and they told Owen about the great snow fort Alex was building. The boys are uncertain about including Owen but realize that, without him, they might not finish. When they are working on the final wall, there is an avalanche from Mount Ava which buries several houses in the town of Glory, including the boys and their snow fort. Alex is first to surface from the snow, and he is able to find both his friends. Although all three boys survive, Owen's aunt and uncle have their house destroyed and are both severely injured.

     The story moves quickly and focuses on the event of the avalanche. The characterization is realistic as friendships are formed and difficulties at school are evident but solved in the end. The vocabulary is suitable for the intended audience. Adjectives add richness to the language while the dialogue is realistic. The description of the surroundings is interesting and adds to the colour of the story. The book is divided into 15 chapters. The first chapter occurs on February 15, but then chapter 2 goes back one month and the rest of the story takes place during that month.

     At the book’s end, the author has included a note about the background of her story and her reason for writing this book. She also includes information about avalanches which the readers would enjoy. Several illustrations are included which add to the understanding of the plot.

     Avalanche! would be enjoyed by those who like action and adventure, and also readers of realistic fiction and friendship. Because the main characters are male, boys would enjoy this selection. This book would be an excellent choice for school, public and personal libraries. It would also be an excellent read-aloud choice.

Highly Recommended.

Deborah Mervold, an educator from Shellbrook, SK, is now doing faculty training and program development at Saskatchewan Polytechnic. She has extensive experience as an English teacher and teacher-librarian.

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

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.
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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
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