Books by Paul Casale

WILD HORSE SUMMER by Hope Ryden
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 22, 1997

Alison doesn't really want to spend the summer she turns 13 on a ranch in Wyoming with her cousin Kelly, who is blind. First of all, Alison believes she'll be expected to spend the whole summer leading Kelly around. Second, Alison is afraid of heights, and a horse looks pretty high to her. Kelly turns out to be remarkably independent, especially when she's riding her mustang, Cookie, and she ends up guiding Alison, who feels woefully timid and untrained around the hardworking ranch family. They draw her in, though, giving her responsibilities of her own, and patiently helping her through her fear of riding. Her test comes when a wild mustang stallion courts Cookie and causes her to escape. Mustering all her courage, Alison and a neighbor, Matt, go after Cookie on horseback. Ryden (Out of the Wild, 1995, etc.) raises this a cut above most horse stories by including a wealth of information about horses, a fresh, lively setting, and an interesting character in Kelly. Unfortunately, she incorporates too much of the factual information on horses into dialogue, resulting in some stiff, unlikely conversations. Nevertheless, believable feelings combined with plenty of action build to a dramatic climax. (b&w illustrations, not seen) (Fiction. 9-14) Read full book review >
UNDERCOVER TAILBACK by Matt Christopher
CHILDREN'S
Released: Dec. 1, 1992

When Parker Nolan sees a spy sneak out of Coach Isaac's office, his penchant for telling wild stories comes back to haunt him: his teammates laugh him off when he tries to tell them that a copy of the Kensington Kudzus' secret playbook has fallen into their rivals' hands. As usual, Christopher enlivens this moral tale about the value of truth with plenty of sports action. The Kudzus take a drubbing on the field until, desperate, they begin to improvise and ultimately carry the day, after which Parker tricks the malefactor—none other that Spike Newton, the Kudzus' money-hungry quarterback—into the open. Quick, easily read, and predictable. Illustrations not seen. (Fiction. 10-12) Read full book review >
MY STEPFATHER SHRANK! by Barbara Dillon
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 30, 1992

``Mallory felt she knew Woody well enough to be sure that absolutely nothing could ever make her glad of his presence.'' Left alone with her nerdy stepfather for a weekend, the nine- year-old promptly makes a forbidden bike ride to buy candy, which she shares—but ungraciously. To her horror, the butter cream shrinks Woody to three inches tall. Mrs. Peebles, who sold the candy accidentally, assures Mallory that her inventive husband has the antidote—if Mallory can contact him. Meanwhile, Woody, aided by the unflappable Mallory, courageously meets a variety of misadventures. When they do find Mr. Peebles (working as a fortuneteller), the antidote fails, but Mallory is finds a clever way to effect a reversal; and by the time Mom returns, she's realized that it's ``not easy trying to learn how to be a stepfather.'' Funny and fast-moving: light reading with a worthwhile message. Inviting format and crisp, diminutive llustrations help sell the story. (Fiction. 8-12) Read full book review >
SKATEBOARD TOUGH by Matt Christopher
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 1, 1991

Brett Thyson finds a skateboard buried in his new yard and suddenly can perform tricks with it that he's never even seen, much less tried. He learns that it belonged to Lance Hawker, a nationally known skateboarder who died in an accident. A friend warns Brett against riding it, but how can he stop before he's proved that he's a better skater than sneering neighbor Kyle Robinson? Christopher fluidly works his usual themes of sharp rivalry defused and personal problems handled, tied together here with an ambiguous fantasy element plus plenty of sports action and information. Four b&w illustrations capture the main characters' personalities. (Fiction. 9-11) Read full book review >