FOOL'S GOLD by Zilpha Keatley Snyder


Age Range: 10 - 14
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From a three-time Newbery Honor medalist, a carefully contrived fictional explication of the nature and treatment of phobias. Rudy, 14, is trying desperately to counter best friend Barney's determination to join new friend Tyler's dangerous, illegal plan to explore an abandoned gold mine; he's even agreed to babysit his two contentious half-sisters in the afternoons so that he won't be available. Teaching a pretty young woman to ride at Barney's ranch provides a temporary diversion; meanwhile a nice older neighbor helps Rudy remember the particular reason for his extreme claustrophobia: at five, he was accidentally buried in the mine. Predictably, Barney gets trapped, Ty panics, and Rudy courageously manages to save Barney; but the focus here is on everyone's fears and their origins, which, once understood, alleviate problems like Barney's daredevil propensities and Rudy's sisters' compulsion to quarrel. Snyder creates some lively and likable characters, and making the mining adventure secondary to the psychological one is fine; but the result is a little too neat and too clinical. Entertaining, but well short of the author's best. (Fiction. 10-14)
Pub Date: April 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-385-30908-2
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1993


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