cover image The Spanish Kidnapping Disaster

The Spanish Kidnapping Disaster

Mary Downing Hahn. Clarion Books, $16 (144pp) ISBN 978-0-395-55696-2

Tagging along on her mother's honeymoon in Spain, Felicia knows there's no love lost between herself and her new stepsiblings, Amy and Phillip. But when Grace, an exotic and self-styled ``citizen of the world,'' kidnaps the three, their differences become far less important than escape and simple survival. As in Zilpha Snyder's The Famous Stanley Kidnapping , the European locale serves to emphasize each child's particular temperament. Phillip the know-it-all offers a passing fluency in Spanish, while headstrong Felicia leads them out of the trouble she has helped cause. The book bucks convention by presenting the abductors fairly: in showing the reader cold-eyed Orlando, weak Charles and the idealistic and appealing Grace, Hahn offers a surprisingly understanding look at what impels people to terrorist activity. While the resolution of the natural resentment among the stepchildren may verge on the facile, the story offers a lively adventure for middle-grade readers. Ages 9-12. (Mar.)