After a wild ride down I-95 with their unpredictably violent father, Sandy and Jack Casperin find themselves in the Florida Keys, far from home. Escaping the man who accidentally killed their younger brother and maybe their mother, the boys, 11 and nine, head for a crocodile swamp, hoping to hide and live off the land. Arnosky's passion for this part of the world is evident, and the mangrove-swamp setting becomes the focus of this survival story. An unlikely situation and minimally developed characters will not keep readers from being caught up in the action as the boys encounter crocodiles, a hammerhead shark and poisonous snakes, as well as less dangerous creatures and a helpful, elderly Cuban fisherman living nearby on a boat. Jack is an enthusiastic nature watcher, full of information that he happily passes on to his older brother, who tells the story, and to readers. Pilot-pen sketches decorate the pages and open each chapter. This sure-to-please adventure for middle-grade readers is a promising new direction for the prolific nature writer. (Fiction. 8-11) Read full book review >
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