a review

5-star Review of Nelson Telson by Tony Chamberlain, former English teacher and sports writer for the Boston Globe:

I approached Nelson Telson as the grandfather of three boys (3,8, and 11 yo, two of them readers) as to consider this book for them to read. And now we slip a little too close to that publisher-generated genre known as “Young Adult”. Does that mean older adults stay out of the clubhouse? I was thinking this just before a little girl Mariah found an ancient Indian spearhead that gave her the magical power of being able to converse with an old horseshoe crab she finds in the tidal flats. A little further along in the book Mariah finds herself in a classroom full of rowdy sixth-graders and a classically mean teacher, Mrs. Tarbox, followed by a classically obnoxious cousin, Travis, complete with BO and a tendency to cheat off Mariah’s schoolwork. Uh-oh, Travis comes to live with Mariah and her family. No wonder why this shy, lonely 11-year old would rather be out among the wild animals, and escape the dreariness of her human surroundings.

By this point in the novel I (who have roughly 60 years on Mariah) was thoroughly engaged in her tale, which has the appeal of such human monomythic advntures in the natural world. E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, and Trumpet of the Swan come quickly to mind, and of course they have been enjoyed by adults young and old for decades.

The story of Nelson Telson (yes, you will learn that a telson is an object in nature) takes many swerves and upendings, as Mariah lives and grows and learns in both her natural and human worlds. This is a clasic tale told with such fresh insight and awareness of nature, that it stands as a must-read for young adults, and their parents. and their grandparents.

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