Lost on Spirit River
Written by Tommy Batchelor
Illustrations by Kim Reale
Mirror Publishing (November 8, 2010)
Lost on Spirit River tells the tale of how cousins Tony and Kathryn, while visiting their grandfather in Flint River, Georgia, became lost during a rare December snow storm. Tony, thirteen, was a model student and athlete until his parents’ separation left him bitter, angry, and blaming himself for their problems. Kathryn is a popular, intelligent eleven-year-old, more than willing to help her cousin through this difficult time at home.
The pair, along with their grandfather’s aging beagle, set out to find the perfect family Christmas tree. A storm forecast of snow is ignored, as snow in Southern Georgia is unheard of at Christmas. As the children leave the cabin their grandfather warns, “Watch out for the ancient ones.”
Kathryn is confident in finding a suitable tree in an area with which she is familiar. Tony doesn’t think he needs anyone’s help—especially a girl’s. He thinks he can find a better tree and leads his cousin further and further away from the cabin. The temperature drops, the snow increases, and the children’s light jackets are not enough to keep them warm. They continue their task in weather so bad that the local rescue team refuses to help until the storm ceases.
The children need to find shelter and fast, however visibility is zero and they are tired, cold, and hungry. Both Tony and Kathryn sense that someone or something is in the forest with them and that perhaps their grandfather’s warning about ancient ones was more than an attempt at humor.
Tommy Batchelor has written an entertaining young adult novel with a multi-pronged message. He uses suspense and adventure to capture his audience’s attention while making his point without preaching. Cooperation to achieve a common goal is presented in a way that pre-teens will understand and relate to easily. Readers are treated to a glimpse of the spirit world of ancient native tribes in a way that will stir imaginations to want to know more about early American civilizations. Children from homes where separation and divorce is reality will identify with Tony and his situation. The dialogue is crisp and well suited to the age group. The characters are well developed and Tony shows growth and maturity at the end. Kim Reale’s illustrations solidify the images already created by Batchelor’s exceptional ability to describe scenes and setting.
Highly Recommended by William Potter for Reader’s Choice Book Reviews.
Available on Amazon