Best for ages 8-12 years
Charles Cedar Dance has little in common with his hippie mother. At the annual school camp, Charles has a chance encounter with the father he has never known and while spying on him at a nearby anti-logging protest camp, Charles finds himself at the centre of a mystery involving a saboteur-turned-kidnapper.
When Charles decides he wants to get to know his dad, he learns the truth about his parents and must re-evaluate his view of his family.
Featured on Quill & Quire: Why we need summer camp books now more than ever
“It’s hard not to like this realistic, convincing, coming-of-age summer-camp story with a hint of mystery.” — Kirkus
“Told in the first person by Cedar, this engrossing and believable story captures perfectly the angst of a pre-teen trying to find his place in the world. Cedar’s story is told with wry, self-deprecating humor while subtly revealing that, despite his doubts about himself and his dubious athletic abilities, he is very much his own person, stronger and wiser than he is aware. The main characters in this book are pleasingly portrayed as real people doing their best according to their lights … a fast-paced and intriguing read.” — Highly recommended, CM Magazine
“Surrender yourself to Cedar Dance! You have to love him as he fights to assert himself against his hippy mother (Moon Dance), his strong-willed friend (Jessica), and the coolest boy at camp, who may be trying to humiliate Cedar every chance he gets. Add in a camp mystery in the dark woods and a family secret – and you have a page turner that’s both funny and touching. This is a coming of age story that deals with serious topics – saving the wilderness, searching for identity – but which never loses its humane heart or its sense of humour. A treat to read.” — Shaena Lambert, author of Oh, My Darling and Radiance
“The search for his father provides adventure, mystery, suspense, and an unexpected conclusion. While the action is successfully maintained throughout, much of the pleasure comes from Cedar’s first person narrative, and the immediacy created by his direct address to the reader … This satisfying novel depicts a non-traditional family, who overcome their different opinions and life choices to be mutually supportive, bonded by tolerance and affection.” — Joan Givner, author of the Ellen Fremendon series
This heartwarming, multi-layered story will serve to teach children that life doesn’t always turn out the way you hoped, but if you count your blessings, you never know where they’ll lead you. — Diana Perry, The Story Monsters Ink Shelf