Is there a demon hiding in a Catskills monastery?
When a friendly and protective Tibetan mastiff appears out of nowhere, 12-year-old Jax names him Mo-Mo and takes him in temporarily in spite of her anxious mother’s reservations. Instantly inseparable, they hike up the mountain above her house to investigate a light in what Jax thought was an abandoned building. There, they meet Yeshi, a boy her age, and his teacher, an elderly monk named Jampa Rinpoche, who have come from Tibet to reopen the monastery built nearly 30 years earlier and to celebrate the return of Rinpoche’s teacher. Kimmel, author of the Dalai Lama biography Boy on the Lion Throne (2009), among other titles, creatively and effectively weaves Buddhist teachings as well as a bit of Tibetan history into the rapidly unfolding plot. Yeshi and Jax urgently search for the 11th-century statue of a protector demon called Tsiu Marpo, stolen from a monastery in Tibet, suspecting a suspicious and dangerous red-haired man is in pursuit. Mentioned in a 14th-century prophecy as “an object of unimaginable power,” the statue may also contain a priceless treasure. Suspenseful and absorbing, particularly when the kids are trying to decode the language in the prophecy, the story also nicely describes how Jax carries over the lessons from her new friends into her everyday family life.
A solid adventure threaded through with spiritual undercurrents. (Fiction. 8-12)