Shiner’s Return by Nolan Carlson
Publisher: Vintage Reflections Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Historical
Age Recommendation: 10+
Length: Short Story (80 pgs)
Rating: 4 suns
Reviewed by Orchid
The Summer and Shiner tale continues... Travel back with Carley and his best friend, Troop, as they once again dive into adventure, mischief, and fun. Join them in their antics at school and as they save Big Louie, the giant catfish. There are Halloween hijinks, a daring rescue for Shiner, and more trouble than Carley bargained for this school year. You'll recognize some old familiar faces and be introduced to new ones-the terrifying schoolmarm, Miss Both, Carley's new rival, Moose Harrigan, and a girl Carley would rather not know, Toby Swanson. And Carley welcomes a brand new friend. Don't miss his excitement or the journey back to Turtle Creek and Carley's hometown.
Summer’s over, it’s back to school. But this year the teacher is the dreaded Miss Botch.
Carly has returned Shiner the Raccoon to the wild and now has to get through a new year at school. His pa has promised him a puppy if he stays out of trouble. Poor Carly. Trouble seems to find him this year, both in and out of school. Every time something goes wrong it seems Miss Botch is looking over his shoulder. Punishment then follows as a matter of course.
His parents try to help Moose, an orphan, by giving him a weekend job. Unfortunately the boy is a bully and huge, so Carly gets into even more trouble when he’s with Moose. His friend Troop is the only one he can rely on.
Boys will be boys and their gang, the Mustangs, get up to all sorts of mischief during the summer and winter. Carly believes he’s been in so much trouble he’ll never get the dog he’s pining for. The one bright light for him is when he sees Shiner again and finds his old friend now has a mate. This proves to Carly that he did the right thing returning the raccoon to the wild.
The boys, Carly and Troop reminded me of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Set in the 1940s in Kansas, the story had the same drowsy days of summer attitude coupled with hard working parents and kids who do chores as a matter of course. Each chapter has a different minor story to tell, while the main story continues in the background.
The only reason I didn’t give this book a higher rating was because it was a bit too drowsy. Although the boys got up to all sorts of scrapes, there was no mind gripping adventure forcing you to read on to find out what happened next. I got the feeling all the way through that everything would turn out all right so there was no need to worry.
Shiner’s Return is still a good book to read or maybe even to read to a younger child. The characters are really true to life and the lifestyle gives a good look into how things were in the 1940s. I would recommend this book for the younger reader. Especially if they enjoy the Tom Sawyer type of books.