Verdict: While the events of ESCAPE FROM KILLARNEY seem a tad sensational, the lesson nestled within those events has value worthy of its own exploration.
Welcome to Killarney. Graham and his little sister Evelyn had their reservations about going on this trip. But their mom thought a hiking trip in the backcountry of Northern Ontario’s Killarney Park would be just the thing this family needed to reconnect with each other. No electronics. No distractions. Just five days of peace and quiet.
The park ranger warned them to watch for signs of animals. Bears had been sighted in this area. As Mom, Derek, Graham, Evelyn, and the family dog, Toby, haul their new camping gear to the perfect campsite by the crystal-blue lake, an important sign remains overlooked. Fresh scat from a feared resident of the area could spell trouble for this unsuspecting family.
The key to enjoying this book is to abandon the cynicism attached to the mundane grown-up world. Then the reader can sympathize with these unlikely heroes and cheer them on through one of the worst 24 hours of living ever experienced. Base camp isn’t even set up before trouble starts. Events happen quickly in this book, which adds to the appeal of the young-adult audience but may draw skepticism from an older reader.
The most unlikely hero in this adventure also happens to be the narrator. Toby the dog leads the reader through this series of unfortunate events with the unique perspective conveyed through a dog’s eyes. He reasons in the very way one would hope a beloved pet would think: intense loyalty, intelligence, bravery, and love. Toby plays a pivotal role in helping the children in their escape from Killarney.
To the young reader, this story presents a valuable example of the phenomenon of choices – how one choice can transform a quiet day by the lake into a chaotic scene of fear and real danger for this family. It provides a platform for the reader to consider how things ended up happening the way they did, and how the reader would have done things differently.
While the events of ESCAPE FROM KILLARNEY seem a tad sensational, the lesson nestled within those events has value worthy of its own exploration.