Review Blog

May 02 2018

Wildcat Run by Sonya Spreen Bates

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Ill. by Kasia Charko. Orca Book Publishers, 2018. ISBN 9781554698301
(Age: 6+) Tommy, Jake and Lexie are on the slopes. The cousins have been skiing for a week, but Jake's Dad twisted his knee on the last run and had agreed they could do one more run, provided they stick to the easy levels. Tommy is Jake's little brother, though he's improved a lot, he is less confident than Jake and Lexie. Once they're on the chair lift, it doesn't take much for Lexie to convince her the boys to try Wildcat Run.
The ski trail itself was an old logger's run, unlike its namesake, there haven't been wild cats on the mountain for years . . . until now. What are those tracks? What can they hear near the stream? Jake, Lexie and Tommy are suddenly in a race for their life down the hill, except Lexie has an accident and the trio has to think a bit more laterally.
In this easy read novel, with Jake as the narrator, the reader experiences Jake's ability to lead his cousins to safety, showing survival skills and all the while has a low literacy need. Readers as young as six will easily follow the storyline, so it would also be good as an introduction to narratives or as a read-aloud at bedtime for younger readers. I especially enjoyed the interspersed thought commentary Jake uses to help him problem-solve. For example, " I am a downhill racer, going for another practice run . . . this time I'll get a personal best".
At times the book is similar to Secret Seven or Famous Five where the children have to use logic and smarts to survive a situation. It is also part of a series, where the characters refer back to other adventures they've shared. Those who enjoy adventure will love this quick read.
Clare Thompson

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