Gr. 4-7. When 13-year-old Bonnie's younger brother and dog disappear, she and her mother experience all the fear, police attention, and media notoriety that often results from such tragedies. Meanwhile, six-year-old Matt is held captive by Denny, his bad-tempered father whom he has never met. Denny cruelly tells Matt that his mother and sister are dead, so the boy abandons hope. The coincidence of Bonnie's spotting Matt at a Mariners game leads to an exciting, movie-style climax. This quick read, which accurately reflects that most missing children are either abducted by relatives or run away, effectively builds suspense as the police make progress and Matt grows increasingly afraid of his gun-toting father. The fact that the characters are largely one-dimensional, especially the villainous Denny, mutes the emotional angst readers might have felt, leaving them free to enjoy the plot-driven thriller with a happy ending. --Kathleen Odean Copyright 2004 Booklist
Gr 4-7-Matt, a kindergartener, meets his 13-year-old half sister every day after school for the ride home. When he fails to show up, Bonnie immediately notifies his teacher and principal, and a full-scale search ensues. Even though Matt has been taught "stranger danger," he is lured into the kidnapper's car with his own dog, stolen from his house. The kidnapper is the boy's father, whom he has never met, and who tells Matt that his mother and sister are dead. So even though the boy knows his phone number, he doesn't try to call. The story portrays a kidnapper's determination and the ease with which a child can be swayed by a stranger despite years of teaching. The novel also does a good job of incorporating modern-day search techniques, such as an Amber Alert, and explaining their use. The plot stretches a bit when Bonnie spots her brother at a Seattle Mariners game, but it does make for a suspenseful ending as she also becomes a victim. The story is resolved happily but with a twist showing the remorse of the people who could have helped along the way but didn't for various reasons. This novel has enough suspense to keep children interested, and it will also appeal to reluctant readers.-Diana Pierce, Running Brushy Middle School, Cedar Park, TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.