DON'T CALL ME TOAD! by Mary Francis Shura


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Discouraged with making friends after a series of close buddies from Air Force families have moved away, Jane is a loner till a contentious new girl involves her in a feud, a mystery, and new friendship. At their first meeting, Dinah, out after dark searching for her little stepbrother (Blitzen), accosts Jane so angrily that Jane is unwilling to help. But although she is disagreeably pugnacious and insists on calling Jane ""Toad,"" Jane empathizes with Dinah's fear even before she learns that Dinah's mother has had an emergency operation back East, after promising to get well if Dinah will take care of Blitzen without worrying her stepfather, Sarge; Dinah has taken this promise so seriously that she dares not ask Sarge's help, though her anxious attempts to cope have left her at loggerheads with Blitzen. In an exciting climax, the three kids unmask a couple of notorious burglars. Shura's characters are solidly three-dimensional; Jane's warm relationship with her parents and Dinah's anxiety expressed as anger are especially well drawn. Though the mystery element is transparent, there's enough creeping about in the fog and discovering hidden treasures to entertain young readers, who will also be pleased with the book's brevity and its satisfying conclusion of friendship found.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1987
Page count: 83pp
Publisher: Dodd, Mead