Saturday, February 15, 2014

Ice Dogs

Ice Dogs
by Terry Lynn Johnston
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014.  279 pgs. Fiction

         Victoria Secord is trying to get ready to run her dogsled in the White Wolf Classic, but it's hard without her recently deceased and much beloved father at her side. Angry at her mother, whom she blames for her father's death, she takes off for a neighbor's one afternoon without saying where she is going.  On the trail she finds an injured snowmobiler, a young boy about her age from Toronto. By the time she has gotten him bandaged and they are on their way, it is nearly nightfall and a blizzard is brewing. The two get lost and despite Victoria's excellent survival skills, are soon cold, very hungry, and dehydrated.  Moving from crisis to crisis, Victoria manages to pull everyone through, including her beloved dogs, and even to make friends with Chris, the boy she has rescued.  Ice Dogs is a good adventure story with lots of information about dogsledding and survival woven almost seamlessly into the narrative. Some things don't make sense:  they get into a trapper's cabin at one point and are excited to find "a shelf full of metal tins," but after they have eaten some cookies, a can of soup and some crackers for supper, and a snared rabbit for breakfast, Victoria decides to leave because they've "already eaten the food that's here." At the beginning of the story, Victoria's sled sideswipes a red Chevette, taking off the side mirror. She speeds away, grinning. which would not be right in real life and shouldn't have been in a book with an otherwise admirable protagonist. A stirring adventure - with a few unfortunate glitches.

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