Deep in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest live the Kin, elflike people who keep themselves hidden from the rest of us. They live their lives exploring the majestic mountains and forests, talking with animals and generally steering clear of the “Toobigs”, their term for the rest of us. Despite his love of the scenery of Washington State, Tim, a young Kin, wants to visit Dunham Wood, near London. He begins his journey accompanied by Suzy Raldo, the child of a Kin mother and a Toobig father, neither of whom told anyone of their plan. Somewhere near the Southampton docks, they went missing. An eagle, Aquila, their protector begins the long flight across a continent and an ocean to find them before something tragic happens.
Author Oral Husemoen McDanel’s story tells of the perils of finding, rescuing and escaping from two criminals in London. Throughout the story, the theme of tolerance and trust is woven into the plot. Humans and animals effect the rescue with their wits rather than brawn, working together to find the lost Kin and to thwart their captors. Different species that should be wary of each other bond with common courtesy and the ability to listen patiently to a conflicting opinion with respect. Tim, after he escapes and hides out from his captors befriends a large dog tied to his doghouse by a thick rope. Despite Tim’s need to flee, he takes hours to free the dog rather than abandon him. While working out the plan for the rescue, Aquila enlists the aid of a lost member of the Kin as well as two Native Americans in London who yearn to see the land where they were born. As expected, the story ends happily ever after with everyone, Kin and Native American, restored to their families.
McDanel writes in a voice that is pitch perfect for children without dumbing down the vocabulary. There is an innate goodness in all of the characters including the criminals who are not described in over the top language or description.
Despite a few punctuation and editing problems that do not detract from the story, THE MERRYKIN RUNAWAYS is a wonderful read, especially at bedtime.
Reviewed by Ed Bennett for IndieReader