Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Tony Chamberlain's Review of Nelson Telson

Enjoy this review!

NELSON TELSON: The Story of a True Blue Blood
By Heidi Mayo
REVIEW/By Tony Chamberlain

I approached Nelson Telson as a grandfather of three boys (2,7,10 YO, two of them
readers) as to consider the book for their future reading. And now we slip a little too
close to that library-generated genre known as “Young Adult.” Does that mean old adults stay out of the clubhouse? I was thinking this just before a little girl named 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 bit further along and Mariah finds herself in a room 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 school work, who comes to live with her family. No wonder this shy and lonely 11-year old would rather be among the wild animals and
escape the dreariness of her human surroundings.

By this point in Mayo’s novel, I (who have roughly sixty years on Mariah) was thoroughly engaged in her tale, which has the appeal of so many human monomythic adventures into 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 read and enjoyed by adults as well as “young adults” 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 both in her natural and human worlds. This is a classic 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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