Molly's Reviews

Run For the TreesRun For The Trees
Mandy Hager
Wings ePress 2003

Entertaining read .. 4.5 stars Recommended

Ben Costas feels himself at a disadvantage because of his learning problem: dyslexia. School is a hassle at best. Ben's Uncle Rick also suffers from the malady causing the pair to have problems reading, remembering and trying to spell. Uncle Rick is an environmental activist who is willing to go to extremes in his effort to save the Rimu trees.
When Ben's mom takes a vacation trip she leaves Ben in the care of Uncle Rick and that is when things begin to go awry. Rick disappears, leaves a taped note, Ben sets out to find Rick only to lose his money and his backpack. Luckily Ben is befriended by a runaway who not only helps him but turns out to be a bit more than she seems. Ben and Ange and their shared adventure is filled with excitement neither expected when each boarded the ferry to carry them to their anticipated, separate destinations.

In "Run For The Trees" Writer Hager is to be commended for producing such an entertaining book addressing many of the problems faced by youngsters in general and one with a reading disability in particular. "Run For The Trees" a is fun, exciting romp sure to please the 10-12 set. The various problems faced by thirteen year old Ben are plausible. As a parent and adult Boy Scout leader who watched thirteen year old boys in action for years I found myself smiling often while reading "Run For The Trees". Ben's fumbling eagerness is something any parent can certainly understand. The young reader who is going through many of the same growing pains will readily identify with Ben and his plight whether they have encountered a same or even a remotely similar situation as that facing Ben when nothing but nothing seems to go as planned.

Writer Hager's descriptive language used in "Run For The Trees" is sure to keep the young reader captivated. The reader is drawn right into the story from the opening lines and attention is held fast until the last satisfying paragraphs. "Run For The Trees" is an exciting read filled with vivid descriptive settings, enough adventure and misadventure and commotion to satisfy the most demanding. Writer Hager has not attempted to sugarcoat, rather she tells the tale in straight forward fashion using words, descriptions and settings that young people can readily understand.

Ben's dyslexia problems are handled well. My own oldest son is dyslexic. Again, I found myself nodding my head or smiling in sympathy while reading as Ben is working about the problems he encounters. Years of parenting and teaching many dyslexics cause Writer Hager's handling of Ben and his situation to seem very supposable.

The only change I suggest is cut out all the blank 'pages' and blurbs before the narrative. I find book reviews etc in the front of books annoying and after teaching so many years realize that many youngsters are not going to continue wading through the 'unimportant' to them verbiage and blank pages to finally reach the story eleven pages into the work. No matter how glowing they are reviews are for parents, kids cannot care less. The cover taken from a Hager photograph is intriguing, hooks interest and the youngsters want to read the story. Suggestion: show cover and publisher info and move book reviews to the back of the book, maybe add a little author bio there as well and get the kid reading on page 2 or no later than 3.

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2005 by Molly Martin