Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Blown Away

Blown Away

Joan Hiatt Harlow
For ages 9 to 12
Aladdin, 2007   ISBN: 978-1416907824

Jake has a quiet life living on Upper Matacumbe Key off the coast of Florida. Then Sharkey, a bad tempered old fishing guide, asks Ben if he would like to work for him. Sharkey has a weak leg and he needs help to get his alligator hides to Key West. At first, Jake is not sure, but he cannot pass up an opportunity to go to Key West, so he agrees to go along.

Sharkey sells all his hides in Key West and then he buys a mule. He had no plans to do this when he arrived in Key West but he cannot resist the mule, who is called Jewel and who has a best friend - a dog called Rudy. Sharkey's new pets are soon the talk of the town, and when they save Jake's little sister Star from a panther, they become heroes as well.

Jake is just getting to used to having Sharkey, Jewel, and Rudy in his life when a terrible threat looms over the horizon. A hurricane is on its way, and it may be one of the most powerful ones the Keys have ever experienced.

Based on what took place when the 1935 Labor Day hurricane hit Florida, this moving novel paints a colorful picture of what life in the Florida Keys was like in the 1930s. Fact and fiction are seamlessly combined to give young readers a story that they will find quite captivating.