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Janice Erbach
Vancouver, Polestar Book Publishers, 1994. 176pp, paper, $9.95
ISBN 0-919591-94-9. CIP

Reviewed by Joan Payzant

Volume 22 Number 6
1994 November / December

This is a fantasy bordering on science fiction with a young teenage girl, Kee, as the main character. She lives on a floating seaweed island community, and for six years she and other teenagers will exercise their special powers enabling them to breathe in water or air so that they may gather the whalin spawn of fruiting bodies which hang down under the seaweed island.

The group of young swimmers are known as wanderers, and they are aided by year-old whalins (much like dolphins) in their tasks. One of the greatest dangers they face are soonaloons, large underwater creatures that attack the islands from time to time. Telepathy plays a large part in the lives of the wanderers and their whalins, whose dorsal fins are grasped by wanderers to tow them through the water.

Kee's older brother Rad had been killed by a soonaloon in a brave attempt to protect the inhabitants of his island, and their parents have been exiled from the island. Kee and her little sister live with foster parents but Kee, in a restless, rebellious frame of mind, sets out for the Southern Islands along with two wanderer friends, hoping vaguely that she may find her real parents. The adventures she has on this voyage make up the bulk of the story.

Recommended as a real change of pace in children's novels.

Grades 4 to 8 / Ages 9 to 13

Joan Payzant is a former teacher-librarian in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

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