SAVE THE LOONIES by Joyce Milton


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A Brooklyn twelve-year-old's experiences with a new environment and a strange family--on vacation with her new friend Nicole Bidwell at the Bidwells' cabin in New Hampshire. At first Jenny rather envies Nicole her more sophisticated parents, who are new-corner renovators in their brownstone neighborhood, though she feels uncomfortable calling them by their first names, Mac and Ellen, as directed. Still, she feels uneasy, and she notices that Mac, who talks about group decisions, always manages to steer things his way. Then, on a climb up a hilltop tower, Jenny is shocked by Mac's intolerant anger toward Nicole, who can't disguise her fear of heights. And she is horrified when Mac, correctly suspecting that the girls have encouraged the visits of a garbage-raiding raccoon, orders Nicole to shoot the animal. (When Nicole flees, unable to pull the trigger, he does the job himself.) Yet Nicole idolizes and defends her father; and Jenny feels even more left out by Nicole's secrecy about an older, ""wild haired"" boy she sneaks out of bed to meet on the porch. Could this boy be the prowler Jenny was warned about by Jared Smith, a young ""ranger"" from the loon conservation society? And why wouldn't Nicole let Jenny in on the secret? Then Jenny, on her own, meets the wild-eyed boy, who turns out to be Nicole's more rebellious brother David, run away from a wilderness survival camp and camping in the woods nearby. It is David who has changed the ""Save the Loons"" bumper sticker Jared left for the Bidwell car to ""Save the Loonies""--but it is also David who helps Jenny rescue an abandoned loon hatchling, keeping vigil with her in a vacant cabin until Jared and his partner arrive to take over. The loon rescue ends next morning with the chick's reunion with its family, and the whole event also effects a Bidwell family reconciliation of sorts. Though Mac, the heavy, is also heavily drawn, as are the episodes that show him up, the exasperated view afforded Jenny by his son David hits the mark--and there is some affective interplay between Jenny and David. But it's the loons who make the story, pointing up and bringing together plot, content, and ambiance.

Pub Date: March 31st, 1983
Publisher: Four Winds