Moon-Dark

Patricia Wrightson, Author, Noela Young, Illustrator Margaret K. McElderry Books $14.95 (169p) ISBN 978-0-689-50451-8
Everything is fine in the life of a dog named Blue, a blue heeler bred from the wild dingo. He lives with fisherman Mort in the Australian bush. But the killer Red Dog starts skulking around Blue's territory, and then the bandicoots and bush rats wage war on each other. There is a food shortage, and the animals' foraging results in the laying out of poison by humans. The animals summon Keeting, a human spirit who lives in the moon, to help them. He identifies the source of all the problems as an overabundance of flying foxes (fruit bats), dispossessed when their home forest was cut down for a housing development. At Keeting's command, all the creatureshunter and preywork together for three days to bring him bamboo poles to transport the flying foxes to a new home in an unpeopled ravine. Wrightson makes excellent points about the fragility of nature's balance, and the book's rich nocturnal setting is compelling. Some readers may find fault with her implication that the problems wrought in the destruction of wild habitat can be curedthat there is always somewhere else to go. But her other themes are valuable for their messages of tolerance and thoughtful coexistence: the wild animals find positive effects that human beings have on the environment. Ages 9-12. (April)
Reviewed on: 04/25/1988
Release date: 05/01/1988
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