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Adventure on Whalebone Island: 01/02/18
Adventure on Whalebone Island by M.A. Wilson is the first of the Maple Harbour mystery series for middle graders. It's published by Rainy Bay Press out of Gibsons, British Columbia. I don't normally point out publishers, but it's a small house but knowing where it is, helps to picture the setting of this book.
If you've been to western British Columbia, you know that the province ends with a series of islands. In fact the capitol is on an island, Vancouver (not to be confused with the city, which is about thirty minutes drive north of the border on the mainland). We spent Christmas in Victoria for 2014, 2015, and 2016. Getting there and back requires an hour and a half ferry ride.
We've always gone to a large city on the largest island. Maple Harbour is a much smaller village. It's the sort of place where you could draw the entire island on a single sheet of paper and list everyone's name and telephone number. It's a place where you have to be water savvy and boat savvy. Claire, one of the two island children in the this book has a sailboat and is on her way to being a champion sailor.
Claire and her brother, Nathan, and their parents, are playing host to cousins Ryan and Kendra. They're expecting to swim and laze about but Claire quickly gets them involved in a hunt for sunken treasure.
I grew up reading The Hardy Boys and Trixie Belden, two American mystery series for children. Maple Harbour has that same feel — with a bit of the Famous Five. Or more recently the foursome is like Nancy Drew and her buddies from the Nancy Drew Diaries. But their adventure is set in (for me) a familiar area which makes it all the more magical.
Finally, the bonus, and I'm speaking here as an American again, is that publisher is small enough that there is no American edition. If you buy the book (and I hope you do), you get the Canadian edition. That means it's Maple Harbour and not Maple Harbor. It's 100% unadulterated Canadian children's literature and it's delightful.
The second book in the series is The Mystery of the Missing Mask which I have on hand and will be reading later this month.