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Ishbel L. Moore
Montreal, Roussan Publishers, 1994. 135pp, paper, $6.95
ISBN 2-921212-37-4. (Out of This World). CIP

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12

Reviewed by Caroline Thompson

Volume 22 Number 5
1994 October

Ishbel Moore's The Summer of the Hand is the story of Shona and her cousin Davey's adventures as they travel back in time to try to prevent a murder. It is also the story of Shona trying to accept the fact that her family is leaving Scotland to move to Winnipeg. Ishbel Moore handles these divergent themes well and with insight and understanding.

The story should appeal to many readers. It has mystery, ghosts, adventure, a sword fight and even a little romance. Along with all this, there is also some history. Since Davey and Shona travel back in time 400 years, it is only right that they learn many things about life in 1567. Ishbel Moore makes several brief references to events of that period in Scotland. She does not go into great detail within the story itself, but does provide further informa-tion in the "Notes to the Reader" at the end of the book. I think many readers will be intrigued and amazed, as Shona and Davey were, at the differences in life-style between 1567 and 1967.

Moore writes well and leaves the reader in suspense and wanting to read on at the end of each chapter. She also shows understanding of Shona's dismay over having to leave Scotland and her fears of what lies ahead in Winnipeg. The story points out some interesting differences between life in Scotland and life in Canada, even within our shared language. When they are in the past, Shona and Davey encounter some characters that speak in a Scottish dialect. Some of the words are unfamiliar and reading this may prove difficult; however, it does add to the authen-ticity of the story and Moore does define some of the more unusual terms.

This book is well written and moves at a good pace. Although it is never made clear why Shona was the one chosen to travel back in time to try to prevent the murder, this becomes a minor detail. The story should appeal to both boys and girls who enjoy adventures and mysteries.

Caroline Thompson is a librarian in Burlington, Ontario.

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