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Carol Matas.
Saskatoon, SK: Fifth House, 1986.
117pp., paper, $3.95.
ISBN 0-920079-25-3. Fifth Perception series #1. CIP.

Grades 6-7 / Ages 11-12

Reviewed by Eve Williams.

Volume 15 Number 2
1987 March

Rebecca is none too pleased with Lonney. As a project partner he was less than reliable, but she did not want him kidnapped. His father is not worried and her parents do not believe her, so she has to sleuth alone. She discovers the fusion factor: unwanted children are kidnapped and taken by way of a time machine into the future of a post-nuclear bomb world.

Rebecca gets on Lonney's trail and tracks him down to the silos and caves beneath the twenty-first century. After many adventures, they escape, taking two others with them. The children know they have two choices: to stay in the future and avoid the bombing or come back to the present and try to avert the war.

All science fiction involves a greater-than-usual suspension of disbelief, but both the plot and the discussion of choices is convincing. Rebecca is a sympathetic grade sixer who finds the logic of parents, teachers, and often peers just too exasperating at times and readers will be able to relate to that. Being mother, leader, kid, and crosspatch in turn are just some of her daily adjustments. The reader is rooting for Rebecca and Lonney all the way and feels a sense of relief when the journey ends safely back in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Carol Matas's book is part of a series of children's literature "needed to facilitate discussion of the nuclear threat in classrooms and schools by teachers" and she received support from the Manitoba Educators for Social Responsibility, the Saskatchewan Arts Board and the Canada Council. She deals with a serious topic and deals with it well. However, my one reservation about the book is that it is so seriously written it may lose its voluntary readers before the end. Rebecca is charming, but possibly a little too young for the students who are likely to be able to read the book and grasp the concept.

Recommended with reservations.

Eve Williams, MacNaughton H.S., Moncton, NB.
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