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By Peg Kehret
Dutton’s Children's Books, 2008 ($16.99)
Ages 9-11 Grades 4-6
Reviewed by Shirley Wetzel
Amy Nordlund made one small mistake when she forgot to walk her neighbor’s dog, but she fears that mistake played a part in her father’s tragic death. The worst thing was that he was angry and disappointed with her when he died. She’s determined to do all she can now to make up for her mistake. She took a babysitting class and won praise from her teacher. When she gets a last-minute call from Mrs. Edgerton, saying that her nanny just left for a vacation and that she needs a sitter for her four-year-old daughter Kendra, Amy happily agrees. The Edgertons are a wealthy and influential family, and Kendra is a little charmer. Amy dozes off by the pool while Kendra is napping, and wakes to find the child missing. Things could hardly get worse, and then they do. The kidnappers come back to get Kendra’s toy cat, Tubby, and grab Amy too. She could have escaped, but she fears the kidnappers might hurt or mistreat the little girl, and she won’t let that happen.
There are two men involved -- Smokey, a young thug with a gun who is the nanny’s boyfriend, and his uncle Hugh, who is, relatively speaking, kind to the two girls. Amy never stops thinking and planning to escape and save Kendra, and she manages to outsmart and outwit the bad guys several times. Her bravery and quick thinking would make any parent proud.
This is a very well-written story about a frightening situation. Although good triumphs over evil, the tension can match any adult thriller, and younger kids might find it a little too scary. For older children, Amy is a great role model, showing that kids are capable of getting through tough situations.
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