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THE 18TH EMERGENCY by Betsy Byars

THE 18TH EMERGENCY

By Betsy Byars

Pub Date: April 16th, 1973
ISBN: 0140314512
Publisher: Viking

When Mouse and Ezzie were younger they used to enjoy inventing solutions to jungle emergencies (lion attack, unexpected charge of an enraged bull, sudden appearance of sharks in your swimming area), and now that big dumb Hammerman is after Mouse (for writing the bully's name under a picture of Neanderthal man on the sixth grade classroom wall) he remembers that most of the emergency measures amounted to doing whatever was hardest or most unnatural. The hardest thing of all, it seems to Mouse, is not running; but after days of dodging Hammerman he now seeks him out and -- without managing to land any hits in return -- accepts the five powerful blows that he knows are necessary to redeem Hammerman's honor. This is Byars in a lighter mood (although we never question Mouse's desperation) and her projection of the marked victim's sharpened senses, fantasies of rescue, and frantic thoughts are both funny and empathic.