Book: Harvest Blizzard: A Story of Silver Falls
Author: Casey Head
Illustrator: Rebecca Noble Carwile
Publisher: Silver Falls Publishing, 2011
Related website: www.silverfallspublishing.com (publisher)
Language level: 1 (nothing objectionable)
Reading level: Ages 10-15
Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Head, Casey. Harvest Blizzard: A Story of Silver Falls (published in 2011 by Silver Falls Publishing, 205 J Davidson Rd., Beattyville, KY 41311). How do you think that you and a friend can survive while hiking through the wilderness when the worst blizzard in memory strikes, especially if one of you is seriously injured? Shortly after Flynn Sorrel and his friends return from their summer trips recorded in the previous Silver Falls novel Two Journeys, everyone becomes involved in the harvesting activities. Following a period of rather cold weather, it becomes unseasonably warm, so Flynn’s brother Rufus and their friend Fingle make a trip up to the summit of Hemlock Mountain. Also a nasty hermit named Virgil moves into the vicinity and sets up his camp. Then all of a sudden, the weather changes overnight and a huge blizzard hits the area.
Many of the animals in Silver Falls make it to safety in the community shelter at the cafeteria, but some are trapped in their homes, injured, and needing to be rescued. Worse off are Rufus and Fingle on the mountain. Fingle has been injured by a bear, and Rufus must keep him alive while trying to decide how to get him back to safety. After helping to rescue his friend Bosco Brownfur and Bosco’s father Paul from their damaged burrow, Flynn must decide whether it would be better to go after Rufus and Fingle up the mountain side or to help Virgil whose camp down the mountain side was hard hit. And what will Flynn do about Carver, the mean young rabbit who is using trickery and deceit in an attempt to take Flynn’s girlfriend, Lara Brownfur, sister of Bosco and daughter of Paul, away from him?
All of the Silver Falls novels are exciting reading in which author Casey Head uses animals to exemplify different attitudes and actions with which we as humans have to deal on a regular basis. In Harvest Blizzard, which we did as a bedtime read aloud and liked very much, there is the perseverance of Rufus to keep on going and not give up even though the odds seem overwhelming. There is Flynn’s courage in braving the blizzard to help with rescue efforts. There is the town’s acceptance of Virgil even though he has treated people very anti-socially. And there is the need to deal with the reality of tragedy as in the touching scene where Paul Brownfur’s family must cope with what happened due to his injuries. Even though it is fantasy that young children can enjoy, Head has something for older readers such as teens as well. There is to be a fourth novel in the series, Spring Rose, in which Flynn and Rufus go in search of their mother.