cover image Missing Since Monday

Missing Since Monday

Ann Matthews Martin. Holiday House, $12.95 (167pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-0626-5

In With You and Without You, Martin wrote sensitively on the death of a parent, a plot different from the themes in her appealing Bummer Summer, Stage Fright, etc. This is the author's second novel that deals with real crises (and her first for older readers), as related by Maggie Ellis, 16. Maggie and her brother Mike care for their beloved stepsister, four-year-old Courtenay, during their parents' absence. One day, Courtenay fails to return on the school bus. The police believe the little girl is a kidnap victim, and their investigation uncovers shocking facts about the possible guilt of people in the Ellis's locale, and worse, the divorced mother of Maggie and Mike. The story is tense, gripping fare right up to the finale with this family, luckier than most who are never reunited with their missing children. Readers should memorize the author's intelligently presented guides to training little ones in safety: knowing their addresses, phone numbers, etc.; and avoiding all contact with would-be molesters. (10-up)