Big things are about the happen at Maple's house. Mama's going to have a baby, which means now there will be four Rittle sisters instead of just three. But when baby Lily is born too early and can't come home from the hospital, Maple knows it's up to her to save her sister. So she and Dawn, armed with a map and some leftover dinner, head off down a river and up a mountain to find the Wise Woman who can grant miracles. Now it's not only Lily's survival that they have to worry about, but also their own. The dangers that Maple and Dawn encounter on their journey makes them realize a thing or two about miracles-and about each other. (goodreads summary)
Maple is determined to help find a miracle to save her baby sister Lily who is born premature. Her heart is not strong enough and Maple knows that the Wise Woman of the Mountains is not just a Folklore but the miracle she must find to save Lily to help bring her home. The Wise Woman is known to be watching over a pool of miraculous water found in the Green Mountains of Vermont that is able to heal the sick back to health. Maple sets out to find the special water but is interrupted by her eleven year old sister Dawn when she attempts to leave during the night. The girls decide to take a canoe down the river together to Peninsula State Park and from there this adventure story begins. During their 30 mile trip they encounter wild animals, poachers and the two embark on a dangerous journey together as the power of hope guides them to save their sister.
I have read many adventure survival stories and feel that this debut novel was pretty good. The story focuses on hope, love and true sisterhood. I enjoyed the writing style as it was very descriptive and placed me right alongside the two sisters journey into the wilderness. Many scenes were full of action and definitely heart pounding a couple of times. The adventures the two encountered did seem a little too intense for girls of such a young age of 9 and 11 though. But then again, the author portrayed the characters with courage, being level headed and calm remembering their skills to problem solve instead of falling apart in harrowing situations. Stop and think first set the tone more than once when the girls reached a dangerous situation. The story showed strength and the love of family along with some serious determination to help one another. When the girls witnessed poachers in the fields killing a deer and owls, it could be something sensitive readers may find a little difficult to read. I wanted to hurry past these parts quickly myself. It did make for a fast paced and quick read. I found myself picking up the book at any chance I could to see what happened in the end. I took away from the book enjoying the folklore and that believing in a miracle can happen. I would like to read more books by this author in the future. I think this is a "just right book" for ages 11 and up.
Author: Erin E. Moulton
Genre: realistic fiction, middle grade
Pub. Date: May 2011, Penquin Books
Hardcover, 200 pgs.