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*Ice Island* by Sherry Shahan - middle grades book review
Ice Island
by Sherry Shahan
Ages 8-12 176 pages Delacorte January 2012 Hardcover    

A welcome addition to contemporary survival novels for children, Ice Island will appeal to children who love dogs, adventure and real life danger.

Tatum is visiting Santa Ysabel Island, Alaska, for a week as her mother is managing a lodge while the owner is away. Tatum has long been fascinated with dog races, especially the Iditarod. Her father used to race dogs, and Tatum longs to do the same. Before they came to the island, a friend gave Tatum one of her favorite sled dogs, Bandit.

On the island, Tatum meets a native Alaskan boy about her age, Cole. He is a dogsled racer and encourages Tatum in her training. One morning, they head off into the snow to practice but get lost as a blizzard moves in.

From this point on, the novel becomes a survival adventure. Although the children are equipped for the weather, they are not prepared for more than a day. Utilizing Coleís experience, the two manage to find shelter and care for the needs of their dogs. There comes a time when they must separate to survive. Each day afterward is a life-and-death struggle.

Told in a third-person voice, the book centers on Tatumís experiences. Ice Island is an exciting adventure in which the reader learns some Alaska history, information about caring for sled dogs, and important survival skills for the Arctic.

The love of and importance of the dogs is paramount throughout the text. These animals are extraordinary leaders, protectors and nurturers; they become an integral part of Tatumís life, especially when she is alone.

Give this book to fans of Gary Paulsen and Will Hobbís survival adventures; they will not be disappointed.
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  Kristine Wildner/2012 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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