The Fear Place

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9780689318665: The Fear Place

For Doug's brother, Gordie, the ridge with its spectacular view is a magical, special place, but for Doug, it's The Fear Place. Two years ago, Doug hiked to the ridge during his family's annual camping trip, and he vowed never again to cross the narrow ledge from which the earth dropped away six hundred feet to the canyon below. But now the boys' parents have been called from their vacation by a family emergency, and Doug and Gordie are alone in the wilderness. After one of their seemingly endless fights, Gordie has stomped away from their campsite. When Girdle doesn't return, Doug fears the worst, particularly when he hears reports that a cougar has been sighted nearby. Doug knows he has to go after his brother, and he knows where he will find him. What he can't imagine is the surprising source of the courage to overcome his fears.

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About the Author:

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor has written more than 135 books, including the Newbery Award–winning Shiloh, the Alice series, and Roxie and the Hooligans. She lives in Gaithersburg, Maryland. To hear from Phyllis and find out more about Alice, visit AliceMcKinley.com.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 5-8-A three-week trip to the Colorado Rockies is marred when Doug and Gordon's parents must go to Boston for a funeral and leave the boys alone at the campsite. With no one there to referee, their bickering escalates, and Gordon goes off to camp higher up in the mountains by himself. Doug's hours pass slowly until a cougar begins visiting him regularly. After a few days, Gordon has still not returned, so Doug sets out to find him; the cougar follows. Helped by his observations of the cougar, he overcomes his fear of heights, hiking across a narrow ledge with a sheer drop-off, and finds his brother, who has broken his leg. The return trip is harrowing, but they make it. This story is suspenseful enough to keep readers turning the pages. The sibling rivalry is the most believable part of the plot; the dialogue is snappy and portrays the difficult relationship well. The boys' mother's poor relationship with her brother (who has just died) serves as a telling counterpoint to her sons' problems. Not so believable is the idea that parents would leave their adolescent children alone in such a remote area. The rapport between Doug and the cougar also strains credibility. Nevertheless, the conclusion is satisfying-surviving a life-threatening situation does cause the boys to reflect on their situation, and readers know they will return home all the wiser.
Bruce Anne Shook, Mendenhall Middle School, Greensboro, NC
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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