Gary Paulsen is the author of more than 100 books and the winner of numerous honors, including the Golden Spur Award for Best Young Adult Western.
Gr 4-7-Set about 150 years ago, Paulsen's latest offering is a ripsnorting adventure, and nothing more, most similar to a Saturday-matinee cliff-hanger of several decades back. In this fourth volume about Francis, 15, and the children he "adopted," Lottie and Billy, the trio struggles to stay out of the clutches of the evil Comancheros (men who trade with the nomadic Comanches) from whom the youngsters escaped in the previous book. Paulsen's trademark emphasis on survival, "man versus nature," is here in fine measure, but so, too, is a melodramatic plot. First, the three young people are saved from their pursuers by a summer thunderstorm; then they find an escaped group of Indian ponies; then they discover a cache of Spanish gold. Next, Francis is bitten by a rattlesnake and nursed back to health by Pueblo Indians while Lottie and Billy learn to live with the tribe. Finally, after the threesome leaves the Pueblos to resume their search for Francis's real family, the Comancheros catch them. In a conclusion that's shockingly violent for the intended audience, the young people kill their captors. Their journey, in conjunction with any one or two of the above episodes, might have been the heart of a first-rate novel, but combined, it's all just too unbelievable. No doubt Tucket's fans will clamor for the book, but it's mostly a nonnutritive meal.-Coop Renner, Moreno Elementary School, El Paso, TX Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
"The invigorating story is just right for readers who like their action at a gallop." -- Kirkus Reviews
Praise for the Tucket Adventures series:
"Many readers will love these books for their exciting, nonstop action." -- School Library Journal