Monday, 11 June 2018

Missing Mike

Finished May 27
Missing Mike by Shari Green

This children's novel centers on one 11-year-old girl, Cara Donovan, as she and her family deal with the threat of encroaching forest fires, evacuation, and worry. The town that Cara's family lives in, Pine Grove, is a fictional place that could, unfortunately stand in for many Canadian town which have been devasted by fire, but for me it brought to mind the terrible scenes from Fort McMurray and the evacuation of that community.
Cara, her older sister, Sloane, and their parents live in a town that is threatened by encroaching fires. They have an emergency kit, and their mother asks them to pack an overnight bag with essentials, just in case. Cara has been planning for a great summer, exploring on the new bike she got just as school let out, an early birthday present. As the book begins, she is out on a trail with her dog Mike. Mike is named after Mike Wazowski, a one-eyed monster from Disney movies. Mike is a dog that Cara chose two years ago, when she convinced her parents she was ready for a dog. Her parents steered her toward the cute puppies at the shelter, but Cara was drawn to Mike, an older dog, who shows the scars of past fights, include a tattered ear and the loss of an eye. And they've been practically inseparable since.
Mike still has nervous moments though, and it is one of these that causes him to disappear just when the Donovans have to evacuate. Cara is despondent, and the trip to the distant town they are evacuated to is a tense time, as the fire stays close for a long while, and others leaving need help along the way.
Cara tries to keep herself busy, spending time with Jewel, the foster daughter of their host family, and volunteering at the evacuation center. She quickly finds out how to fill out a form to let authorities know about her dog, but nothing really distracts her completely from her loss.
The desperation of the situation, while fleeing the fire is expressed well, and Cara's focus on her loved pet Mike is a constant.
The book is written in free verse, which adds an interesting flow to the story. And I loved that Cara was a crossword fanatic, mulling over word definitions and able to consider how a word might mean different things to different people. A big part of Cara's musings throughout the book are around the word "home" and how the word can mean sometime differnt to people given their experiences, personalities, and situations. A book that will get the reader thinking.

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