Silke Stein is a member of the Goodreads Great Middle Grade Reads group, and offered members this book to review. I loved the blurb, and jumped at the chance.
Shooting ghost bears?!
Twelve-year-old Trina Bell has finally had enough. Why should she spend another dull summer watching Great-Aunt Roswinda play lawn bowling, while her father has all the fun? This year, she won’t let him get away with the usual excuses. To her surprise, she succeeds. Her dad, the famous wildlife photographer, agrees to take her to the Canadian rainforest, on a quest for the elusive Kermode bear.
Trina’s triumph is short-lived, however; soon she finds herself all alone in Victoria on Vancouver Island, dumped in a strange apartment building that may not be what it seems. But when she befriends Moss, the three-legged dog living across the street, and becomes involved in a mysterious case of vanishing hummingbirds, events take an astonishing turn.
In a new take on the absent parent syndrome, Trina escapes the boredom of life (and holidays) with her Great-Aunt (I hope my great nieces won’t suffer the same fate) to join her widowed father in Vancouver Island. Except that having her to stay has little effect on his wilderness adventures, and she finds herself alone most of the time. As the blurb says, she befriends a dog, which also has an intriguing take on the ‘friendship’ element, and meets real people, some of whom are rich and eccentric. Actually most of this tale is eccentric, but its the kind of eccentricity that I love, fed by curiosity in a new world, and I hope a great many middle grade kids will too. The adventures and mysteries are spot on for a kid alone in a relatively safe environment, who discovers hummingbirds, and their strange behaviour towards her, so wants to find out why they behave as they do.
The tale is richly told and the imagery is superb. Enough twists to make it a mystery, surreal events every now and then that appear to be padding… but no! It all works itself together extremely well. I gave it a generous four stars on Goodreads, and still feel warm enough about it some weeks after the event that it might creep up to five on Amazon. It’s fun, and I’m still smiling.