Smoke

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When Colton’s mom tells him that they’re moving from Idaho Falls to northern California, Colt is sad, but he takes it like a man. At least he’ll have one friend to keep him company – Smoke, the twenty-pound black Maine coon cat that Colt’s dad gave him when he was little. With his dad gone most of the year riding bulls on the rodeo circuit, sometimes it feels like Smoke is their only connection. So when Smoke doesn’t come home after Colt lets him out in the middle of the night, nothing else in Colt’s world seems ...

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Overview

When Colton’s mom tells him that they’re moving from Idaho Falls to northern California, Colt is sad, but he takes it like a man. At least he’ll have one friend to keep him company – Smoke, the twenty-pound black Maine coon cat that Colt’s dad gave him when he was little. With his dad gone most of the year riding bulls on the rodeo circuit, sometimes it feels like Smoke is their only connection. So when Smoke doesn’t come home after Colt lets him out in the middle of the night, nothing else in Colt’s world seems to matter anymore. But on the dark and stormy evening when Colt sets off alone to find his missing cat, he’s in for more danger than even the son of a fearless bull rider could have dreamed of.

A captivating look at cowboys, courage, and community, this is a tender tale about family and friends pulling together, and what it really means to be a man.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Engaging.” —Booklist

“Jukes is a masterful writer who makes it look easy with her accessible and unassuming style.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“It’s a tender, audience-appropriate story that subtly handles themes of home, family and community.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Animal lovers in particular will relate to Jukes’s novel about a 12-year-old’s move from rural Idaho to an old farmstead in California . . . . Colton’s conflicts will be relevant to preteens who have struggled with unwelcome changes.” —Publishers Weekly

“The novel is well worth reading for the unusual setting(s) and point of view as well as for Jukes’s deft, uniquely direct characterizations, wherein everyone comes off as believable.” —The Horn Book

Publishers Weekly

Animal lovers in particular will relate to Jukes's (Like Jake and Me) novel about a 12-year-old's move from rural Idaho to an old farmstead in California. Colton is sad about leaving his grandfather and moving further away from his rodeo-rider father. But his sorrow is compounded shortly after he and his mother settle into their home, when his beloved Maine Coon cat-a gift from his father-runs away. Colton is determined to find the cat, Smoke, but his search proves more dangerous than he anticipates, leading him into the path of a cougar or maybe even a ghost. Although the dialogue isn't always convincing, it may please cowboy fans: "I just got scared witless," says Colton's father. "Scared to death you might have got drug off somewhere." Colton's conflicts will be relevant to preteens who have struggled with unwelcome changes. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
VOYA - Walter Hogan
Twelve-year old Colton has to make a new start after relocating from Idaho to a rural Northern California farm with his divorced mother. His dad, a cowboy on the rodeo circuit, had never spent much time at home. But Smoke, the big Maine coon cat his dad gave him when he was little, provides Colton with some comfort and continuity following the move. Boy and cat begin to explore their new territory, and Colton is just starting to feel at home when one morning Smoke fails to return from a nighttime prowl. While searching for his cat in the rugged countryside, Colton runs into some trouble himself, and the search for Smoke expands into a search for Colton, bringing together a diverse crowd of family members and new neighbors. This short, easy-to-read novel is a good choice for middle school and early teen boys. Reluctant male readers will readily identify with Colton. A year behind in school because he had to repeat third grade, Colton is a slow reader, does not like "fancy" food, and enjoys vigorous outdoor activities such as team sports and horseback riding. Beneath a quiet, polite demeanor, Colton's sharp observations about adult authority figures, his dry sense of humor, and his strong loyalties to his family and his cat make him an appealing protagonist; however, Colton's character is not strongly tested. The novel presents a slice of life without a character-defining conflict or resolution. Reviewer: Walter Hogan
Kirkus Reviews
Much has changed in 12-year-old Colton's life. He's moved from Idaho to California, he misses his grandfather, he rarely sees his father anymore and he has had to forge a life in a new place. He can make steps toward adjusting, however: He makes new friends, there's a girl he likes and he still has his huge cat named Smoke. But when Smoke disappears one night, Colton is at a loss. When he goes searching for his cat, he encounters a mountain lion and holes up in a cabin, making everyone fear that he is lost too. His disappearance brings his father home and makes Colton realize how family and friends have pulled together for him. Jukes's prose is straightforward and unadorned, with strong dialogue and an abundance of exclamation points. It's a tender, audience-appropriate story that subtly handles themes of home, family and community. (Fiction. 8-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374370855
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 3/31/2009
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 176
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

MAVIS JUKES has written numerous acclaimed books for children, including Blackberries in the Dark and Like Jake and Me, a Newbery Honor Book. She lives in Sonoma County, California.

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