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Author: Harlow, Joan Hiatt
In 1911 Pennsylvania, Corey, eleven, works in coal mines to help support his family, but when an accident triggers a phobia, he must turn to a strange recluse for help.
Kirkus Reviews (07/15/17)
School Library Journal (-) (08/01/17)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 08/01/2017 Gr 3–5—Corey is just about to turn 12, the age when boys in his town leave school to work in the mines, when he falls through a frozen pond and nearly dies. Luckily, the town's local hellhound and his witch-doctor owner save Corey and they begin a friendship. Although he is still paralyzed with fear and unable to venture into the claustrophobic mines, Corey becomes a breaker boy who sorts rock from coal instead. While moments of drama and excitement pepper the novel, the story moves at a fairly measured pace, often developing Corey's character at the expense of minor ones who could be more fully fleshed out. The details of historic 1900s Pennsylvania and the conditions of the miners and their families will interest history buffs, and the end of the novel includes a harrowing rescue from a mine collapse. While the story ends on an exciting note, there are threads that do not get fully realized as Harlow tries to tackle friendship, prejudice, history, and sports all at once. VERDICT This novel's leisurely pace and abundant plot lines may make it a tough sell to more reluctant readers. Recommended as an additional purchase where historical fiction or Harlow's other titles are popular.—Ellen Norton, Naperville Public Library, IL - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.