THREE DOG WINTER by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk


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Routine story of a step family learning to live together. Unlike the two younger children, Scott and his new stepbrother Brad don't get along; Brad is profoundly disturbed by his mother's desertion, and Scott, whose father died less than a year ago, is not in a tolerant mood. Meanwhile, Scott, a sled-dog racer, is pleased that Montana winters are colder than those in California, even though all he has for a team is his beloved malemute, Kaylah. He needn't worry, however--dogs spring conveniently to hand: Brad's dog Bruno; another malemute from a friend of Scott's father's; then a stray setter. Other problems are also rather conveniently resolved--as Scott trains his team, begins to adjust and, in the climactic scene, sleds off to the rescue (and presumably reconciliation) when Brad is caught in a storm (""Brad, you can't die,"" he says, ""I won't let you""). Rather than focus on Brad, the most troubled character, Van Steenwyk tells the story from Scott's point of view; but Scott is more interested in thinking about his dogs than about his stepbrother's turmoil. The author also introduces characters for no clear reason (e.g., the elderly couple who claim the stray setter, then drop out of the story), and spends little time describing the two races that Scott enters--compared with Gardiner's Stone Fox, the racing scenes here give little sense of the sport's attractions. With Snyder's Headless Cupid and so many other fine books about newly constructed families, this is not a front-runner.

Pub Date: Nov. 16th, 1987
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Walker