Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pond Scum: The Dark Pond

Image of itemI've done fairly well with the kidlit B section of the library, including the short adventure story The Dark Pond by Joseph Bruchac.  Although the protagonist is a high school student at an expensive boarding school, the tone and style place it fairly in the middle grade arena, since Armie carefully explains what is going on with a minimum of angst or sarcasm, two requirements for YA.  Being cast as older lets Armie have more freedom, so that the school policy of letting kids take themselves out for long hikes or overnight camping trips seems plausible.  

Armie has the added attraction of being an animal magnet; small creatures such as birds gravitate towards him.  This and his large build have made him a bit of a social outcast, and his parent's obsession with their careers only feeds his loneliness.  The MONSTER IN THE POND preys on this weakness, but our hero, with the help of a friendly scientist, saves the day.  I liked Armie's identity as a Shawnee; his Indian heritage is an important part of his life and a source of a lot of his knowledge and competence, but he assumes that the readers don't share this knowledge and doesn't mind bringing us up to speed.  It's a fast read that ends with happy endings all around, to a degree that did make my adult cynical lip curl -- right after he discovers that the other students shockingly admire him, his parents show up for a long-delayed reunion.  But I bet my kids accept all that as his due.

Do the Adirondack mountains extend into Vermont?  The book doesn't specify where the school is located, and I need a Vermont book for my 50 states challenge.  Vermont seems like a better tax haven than northern New York...

No comments: