Bill Wallace grew up in Oklahoma. Along with riding their horses, he and his friends enjoyed campouts and fishing trips. Toasting marshmallows, telling ghost stories to scare one another, and catching fish was always fun. One of the most memorable trips took place on the far side of Lake Lawtonka, at the base of Mt. Scott. He and his best friend, Gary, spent the day shooting shad with bow and arrows, cutting bank poles, and getting ready to go when their dads got home from work.
Although there was no "monster" in Lake Lawtonka, one night there was a "sneak attack" by a rather large catfish tail. Checking the bank poles was not nearly as fun or "free" after that point, but it was the inspiration for this story. Bill Wallace has won nineteen children's state awards and been awarded the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award for Children's Literature from the Oklahoma Center for the Book.
Gr 4-7-A surefire winner of a tale. Bailey, 11, is mortified that he reacts to firecrackers or other loud noises by jumping. He's branded a coward by the boys at school as well as his brothers, all of whom take delight in tormenting him. Bailey and his father set out to "cure" him of this problem until his leaping ability saves his life during an encounter with a rattlesnake. At the Fourth of July celebration, the medicine man who is telling fortunes predicts that Bailey will see himself "in the eye of the great bear." The summer of 1898 wears on filled with farm work and a few adventures. The merciless Texas sun proves too much for Bailey's dad, who suffers from a bout of heat sickness, but he refuses to heed the doctor. After a long conversation behind closed doors, his parents reach a compromise and the family heads for Montana where more experiences and the foretold great bear await them. The author has created characters whom readers come to know and care about. He has spun a story filled with small escapades interspersed with heart-stopping excitement and terror. He shows that everyone has a trait they wish they didn't have, and teaches two very important lessons: that courage comes in a lot of different forms and that one does what one must do. This story will be an excellent read-aloud as the chapters are episodic cliff-hangers.-Nancy P. Reeder, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Columbia, SC Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
"A surefire winner of a tale... The author has created characters whom readers come to know and care about. He has spun a story filled with small escapades interspersed with heart-stopping excitement and terror".
-- School Library Journal