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Nicknamed after his hometown of Kakabeka, Canada, Kak dreams of flying with the Allied bombers in World War II. So at 16, underage and desperate to escape his abusive parents, he enlists in the Canadian Air Force. Soon he is trained as a wireless operator and sent to a squadron in England, where he's unabashedly gung ho about flying his first op. He thinks the night ops over Germany will be like the heroic missions of his favorite comic-book heroes. Good will vanquish evil. But his first time out, in a plane calledB for Buster, reveals the ops for what they really are--a harrowing ordeal. The bombing raids bring searchlights . . . artillery from below . . . and night fighters above hunting to take the bombers down. One hit, Kak knows, andB for Buster, along with him and his six crewmates, could be destroyed. Kak is terrified. He can't confide his feelings to his crew, since he's already worried that they'll find out his age. Besides, none of them seem afraid. Only in Bert, the slovenly caretaker of the homing pigeons that go on every op, does Kak find an unlikely friend. Bert seems to understand what the other men don't talk about--the shame, the sense of duty, and the paralyzing fear. As Kak seeks out Bert's company, he somehow finds the strength to face his own uncertain future.
Sequel to "The Smugglers" "There's pirates in the West Indies. Cannibals. They cook you alive. " His father's words will haunt seventeen-year-old John Spencer as he embarks on his first voyage to foreign lands. Carrying cargo destined for Jamaica, John and his Dragon crew set off from London for waters few of them have sailed before. When they come upon a lifeboat adrift, some are wary of the sailor on board. His name is Horn, and something about him isn't right. Still, John respects his awe-inspiring seamanship. But is Horn to be trusted?
As Tom Tin nears Australia, where he's to serve a lengthy sentence for a murder he didn't commit, he and his fellow convict, Midgely, plot their escape. No matter that the ship carrying them and the other juvenile criminals is captained by Tom's father. Tom knows his father can't help him clear his name and regain his freedom-not as long as Mr. Goodfellow, a man who wants the ruin of the Tin family, wields power back in London. So Tom and Midgely decide to go overboard! So do other boys who seize their chance at liberty-boys who aren't so innocent, and who have it in for Tom. To make things worse, the islands in the Pacific look inviting, but Tom remembers his father's warnings: headhunters and cannibals lurk there! The boys go anyway. And as conflict among them mounts, as they encounter the very dangers Captain Tin spoke of, Tom must fight to keep himself and Midgely alive.
ADRIFT AT SEA, Tom Tin and his four convict companions are only too glad when they come upon a deserted ship. The boys clamber aboard, not knowing whether they've been saved or set on a course toward doom. But after rescuing two men stranded on a melting iceberg, Tom begins to suspect that these unsavory sailors are dangerous castaways from this very vessel. The more Tom questions the men, the more they dislike him. So, when Tom overhears them plotting to get rid of him, he knows they mean it. But t...
"The Castaways leaves readers breathless."--School Library Journal The spirited adventure that began in The Convicts and continued in The Cannibals has its riveting conclusion in The Castaways--in which Tom Tin and his four convict companions save two sailors stranded on an iceberg. There's Mr. Beezley, with his tattooed hands and icy stare; and Mr. Moyle, with his pig-like face and rotten teeth, who supposedly eats children. As Tom grows wary of the men, he suspects they are plotting to get rid of him. Buthow? And if Tom and the other boys can't stop the sailors, will they ever make it home to England, where Tom's diamond remains buried, and where he still stands a chance of sorting out his tangled fate? "The quirky characters and an incredible story with fast action will keep you turning the pages to see what happens next, complete with a very satisfying, surprise ending."--MyShelf.comFrom the Paperback edition.
After seeing his father hauled off to debtor's prison, Tom Tin sets out to take revenge on Mr. Goodfellow, the man responsible for his family's misfortunes. But the fog-filled London streets are teeming with sinister characters. Tom encounters a blind man who scavenges the riverbed for treasure--and wants what Tom digs up; Worms, a body snatcher who reveals a shocking surprise; and a nasty gang of young pickpockets who mistake Tom for someone ominously known as the Smasher. And ultimately, Tom comes up against the cruel hand of the law. Accused of murder, Tom is given a seven-year sentence. He is to be transported to Van Diemen's Land with other juvenile convicts. But Tom can't abide life on the Hulk, the old ship where the boys are temporarily held. He decides to escape. But if he's to succeed, his luck needs to turn. . . .From the Hardcover edition.
EACH MEMBER OF the River family pursues a dream. But when a tragedy befalls the Rivers, it brings a halt to everyone's dreams. Everyone but Danny. For he finally gets his dog. And not just any old dog, but a stray that he believes embodies the spirit of someone he dearly loves. Nothing can separate them, not even after the police come to take the dog away. Together Danny and his dog run off, heading toward Cape Canaveral, where some dreams end up coming true.
Harold Kline is an albino--an outcast. Folks stare and taunt, calling him Ghost Boy. It's been that way all of his 14 years. So when the circus comes to town, Harold runs off to join it. Full of colorful performers, the circus seems like the answer to Harold's loneliness. He's eager to meet the Cannibal King, a sideshow attraction who's an albino too. He's touched that Princess Minikin and the Fossil Man, two other sideshow curiosities, embrace him like a son. He's in love with Flip, the beguiling horse trainer, and awed by the all-knowing Gypsy Magda. Most of all, Harold is proud of training the elephants, and of earning respect and a sense of normality. Even at the circus, though, two groups exist--the freaks, and everyone else. Harold straddles both groups. But fitting in with those who are "normal" comes at a price, and sometimes it's recognizing the truth beneath what's apparent that ultimately leads to happiness . . . and turns a boy into a man.
A girl's imagination transports polio-afflicted kids into a fantastic world. The spring of 1955 tests Laurie Valentine's gifts as a storyteller. After her friend Dickie contracts polio and finds himself confined to an iron lung, Laurie visits him in the hospital. There she meets Carolyn and Chip, two other kids trapped inside the breathing machines. Laurie's first impulse is to flee, but Dickie begs her to tell them a story. And so Laurie begins her tale of Collosso, a rampaging giant, and Jimmy, a tiny boy whose destiny is to become a slayer of giants. As Laurie embellishes her tale with gnomes, unicorns, gryphons, and other fanciful creatures, Dickie comes to believe that he is a character in her story. Little by little Carolyn, Chip, and other kids who come to listen, recognize counterparts as well. Laurie's tale is so powerful that when she's prevented from continuing it, Dickie, Carolyn, and Chip take turns as narrators. Each helps bring the story of Collosso and Jimmy to an end--changing the lives of those in the polio ward in startling ways.
Three years have passed since Squid McCrae last saw her parents and the remote island where she grew up. She returns now at seventeen, a young woman with a daughter in tow. The visit, she knows, will be rough. Lizzie Island-paradise to some, a stifling prison to others-brings an onslaught of memories. It is the place of Squid's idyllic childhood, where she and her brother, Alastair, blossomed into precocious adolescents. But Lizzie Island is also the place where Alastair died. Now the past collides with the present as Squid's homecoming unleashes bittersweet recollections, revelations, and accusations. But nothing is what it appears to be. No one possesses the complete truth, and no one is without blame. From the Hardcover edition.
Ten-year-old Johnny eagerly plays at war with the army of nutcracker soldiers his toymaker father whittles for him. He demolishes imaginary foes. But in 1914 Germany looms as the real enemy of Europe, and all too soon Johnny's father is swept up in the war to end all wars. He proudly enlists with his British countrymen to fight at the front in France. The war, though, is nothing like what any soldier or person at home expected. The letters that arrive from Johnny's dad reveal the ugly realities of combat -- and the soldiers he carves and encloses begin to bear its scars. Still, Johnny adds these soldiers to his armies of Huns, Tommies, and Frenchmen, engaging them in furious fights. But when these games seem to foretell his dad's real battles, Johnny thinks he possesses godlike powers over his wooden men. He fears he controls his father's fate, the lives of all the soldiers in no-man's land, and the outcome of the war itself. From the Hardcover edition.
SCOOTER KING UNDERSTANDS illusions. In the midst of the Roaring Twenties, he performs them behind the scenes at his mother's séances, giving the impression that Madam King communicates with the dead. Scooter also admires Harry Houdini and can hardly wait to see the famed magician escape from his razzle-dazzle Burmese Torture Tank. But when Scooter stumbles upon a dead body in the visiting Houdini's tank, it's no illusion. Who could the murderer be? And did he--or she--kill the right person?As Scooter sets out to unmask the killer, the mysterious worlds of mediums, séances, and magic are revealed. No one is above suspicion, and appearances are deceiving. If Scooter doesn't sort out the clues--and fast--he may end up as the next dead body.From the Hardcover edition.
"Steer clear of that ship," warns the mysterious gentleman who shares a coach with John and his father. "Death she'll bring you," says the man. "It's the way of a ship that was christened with blood. " This is an ominous introduction to the schooner John is about to be entrusted with for a voyage to London. But he's too charmed by the prettyDragonto heed the advice. The ship looks clever and quick, and John can hardly wait to sail her. She was a smugglers' vessel once, but now she's his Dragon, and she'll proudly carry wool for honest trade. But soon John will be forced to consider the gentleman's warning. And to wonder what he really knows about his bonny crew.
In the forests of Siberia, in the first years of the 20th century, a white pony runs free with his herd. But his life changes forever when he's captured by men. Years of hard work and cruelty wear him out. When he's chosen to be one of 20 ponies to accompany the Englishman Robert Falcon Scott on his quest to become the first to reach the South Pole, he doesn't know what to expect. But the men of Scott's expedition show him kindness, something he's never known before. They also give him a name--James Pigg. As Scott's team hunkers down in Antarctica, James Pigg finds himself caught up in one of the greatest races of all time. The Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen has suddenly announced that he too means to be first to the Pole. But only one team can triumph, and not everyone can survive--not even the animals.From the Hardcover edition.
There was once a village bred by evil. On the barren coast of Cornwall, England, lived a community who prayed for shipwrecks, a community who lured storm-tossed ships to crash upon the sharp rocks of their shore. They fed and clothed themselves with the loot salvaged from the wreckage; dead sailors' tools and trinkets became decorations for their homes. Most never questioned their murderous way of life.Then, upon that pirates' shore crashed the ship The Isle of Skye. And the youngest of its crew members, 14-year-old John Spencer, survived the wreck. But would he escape the wreckers? This is his harrowing tale.From the Trade Paperback edition.
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