Tracks in the Snow

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When Amy doesn't show up to baby-sit, Erin knows that something must be terribly wrong. But who will believe her? Not her parents, not even the police. They all tell Erin the same thing—Amy is irresponsible—so Erin decides to take things into her own hands. She persuades Tiffany, her new science partner, to do a project on animal tracks, figuring the project will give her an excuse to search for Amy. While the two girls are in the woods, a sudden spring blizzard strikes. Erin ...

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When Amy doesn't show up to baby-sit, Erin knows that something must be terribly wrong. But who will believe her? Not her parents, not even the police. They all tell Erin the same thing—Amy is irresponsible—so Erin decides to take things into her own hands. She persuades Tiffany, her new science partner, to do a project on animal tracks, figuring the project will give her an excuse to search for Amy. While the two girls are in the woods, a sudden spring blizzard strikes. Erin and Tiffany are now snowbound, with only one thought—survival.

Author Biography:

LUCY JANE BLEDSOE is also the author of The Big Bike Race. She lives in Berkeley, California.

Erin and her science project partner Tiffany become lost in the snow-covered Sierra mountains when Erin leads them on a trek to find her missing babysitter.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Donna Freedman
A non-series mystery with an intriguing premise, Tracks has a determined protagonist and a fish-out-of-water sidekick solving a mystery at their own peril. Erin worries when her teen-aged babysitter fails to show up; although the grownups have a plausible explanation, Erin has a gut feeling that something is wrong. Under the cover of a science project in the woods, she decides to look for Amy herself, but she's saddled with a partner: Tiffany, a city girl who seems woefully unprepared for a wilderness adventure. Bledsoe places her characters in considerable peril-exposure, hypothermia, a possible cougar attack-but also grants them enough smarts to cope with the dangers. It's great to see a wilderness story with girls at the helm.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6A straightforward tale of wilderness survival. Erin Flaherty, 10, and her science partner, Tiffany, set off into the snowy forest near their California mountain town, purportedly to find animal tracks for a school project. Erin is troubled by the disappearance of her 16-year-old babysitter, Amy, and believes that she may have hidden in a remote miner's cabin rather than face a move to Arizona. When the girls see boot tracks in the snow, Erin reluctantly confesses to Tiffany that her real agenda is locating Amy; to her surprise, Tiffany agrees to help. As a blizzard gathers, common sense dictates returning home, but their reckless determination leads them onward. A sprained ankle forces them to spend the night in the woods. The next morning, their plight worsens as they discover they are lost, matchless, hungry, and threatened by hypothermia and predators. The girls must rely solely on their wits to survive. Tiffany grows more confident in the face of adversity and discovers her essential self; she decides to reclaim her real Vietnamese name, Hoa Tran. Amy is finally found, nearly dead from exposure. Although they have all been through a difficult ordeal, Erin can see clearly the contrast between her and Hoa's strengthborne of elemental survivaland Amy's sad, frightened condition. The ending is abrupt, affording no encounter between the lost girls and their parents, but the simplicity and intensity of this adventure will satisfy many children, particularly those who like Gary Paulsen's Hatchet (S & S, 1987).Susan W. Hunter, Riverside Middle School, Springfield, VT
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380732302
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/31/2000
  • Series: Avon Camelot Bks.
  • Pages: 120
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.11 (w) x 7.51 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

A Hectic Friday Morning

No one believed Amy was missing.

Mom and Dad, busy getting ready for work, were angry about the weather, which was turning bad in time for the weekend. It was April, which meant it should have been spring. But we live in a small town in the Sierra mountains of California. Up here you can't count on spring until June. On this Friday morning, flat, grayish snow clouds hung over our world.

"Dad," I said, bringing him a second cup of coffee, "I think Amy's in trouble."

Dad was busy shaving, so all he did was mumble, "She'll show up. She probably just forgot."

There was no way that Amy would forget me. I told Dad, "I doubt that. There's got to be a good reason she didn't show up."

Mom pulled her nylons up one leg. She sighed and said, "It's so hard finding a reliable babysitter."

"Amy is very responsible," I told her, even though it wasn't completely true.

Mom said, "If Amy was responsible, she would have been here last night at six o'clock." She put on her light blue blazer and looked at herself in the mirror. Then she looked at me. "What happened to your glasses, Erin?"

I didn't have to answer. It was obvious. I had broken them. Again. When I jumped out of bed that morning, I'd landed right on them. At least only one leg broke off. I pulled the glasses' leg out of my back pocket and held it up for her to see.

Now Mom was really in a bad mood: the weather looked more like winter than spring; she and Dad hadn't gone to the movies last night because Amy never showed up; and now I had broken my glasses.

She sighed again but didn't say anything more about theglasses. "I'm late, Erin, but I don't want you wearing jeans to school and you know it. Don't forget to brush your hair, either."

"This is the first time Amy hasn't shown up!" I protested.

"Gotta run," Mom said. "No jeans and brush your hair."

Mom and Dad crashed into each other running for the door. Mom's coffee splashed onto her blazer.

"Go get the truck started," she told Dad, then ran back to their bedroom to change. A minute later she came out wearing a yellow sweater with a small glob of tomato sauce hardened onto the sleeve. I didn't tell her about it.

"Don't worry about Amy," she said running out the door.

I wanted to shout, "You don't know anything about Amy!" After watching the truck roar off, I sat down to eat my cereal.

I knew a whole lot about Amy, even though I'm ten and she's sixteen. We'd met last month when Mom and Dad hired her to babysit me during spring break. We spent two whole weeks together. She scared me that first day because of the way she looked. Mom called it the look of an artist. Amy has wild gray eyes that change all the time, like the mountain sky. She's real skinny and has long black curly hair. She always wears dangling earrings, which she makes herself, and about ten bracelets on each arm. They jingle every time she moves.

That first day, Mom said, "I would prefer that you two stayed home today. If you do need to go somewhere, call me first." Then she gave Amy her work number.

The minute Mom and Dad left for work, Amy said, "What are we going to do today?"

I shrugged.

"What's that cart out front?"

I was happy that she had noticed my covered wagon. I love reading about the pioneers who crossed the Sierra Nevada about a hundred and fifty years ago, looking for gold and fertile farmland. Unfortunately, I was born too late to be a pioneer.

But I'd always wanted to travel by covered wagon. So Dad and I built one. We started with an old red wagon. Then we cut some willow boughs, because they bend easily, and bought some white canvas. The hard part was attaching the curved willow boughs to the insides of the wagon, but Dad managed it by nailing them to some two-by-twos that fit tightly along the length of the wagon interior. Finally, we sewed the canvas into a cover that fit over the curved boughs. The wagon handle was the yoke for the oxen.

Mom helped me outfit my covered wagon with some old eating utensils, a length of cord, a pail, and a small shovel. I strapped the stuff to the outside, just like the pioneers did, and used an old blanket on the inside for my bed. It was a bit small, but I took naps in there anyway. To make it look authentic, Dad cut an extra square of canvas and sewed it on the covering to look like a patch. Once I tried to attach my cat, Snowball, to the wagon handle, but she wasn't about to pull anything. Dad said cats have much more dignity than oxen.

I explained all this to Amy and also showed her my collection of pioneer books.

"We have so much in common," she said, clapping her hands. Her bracelets jangled.

"We do?"

"Sure. I want to show you something. Come on. Let's take your covered wagon."

Before I knew it, we were locking up the back door and pulling the covered wagon out to the street. There were several feet of snow on the ground, but Mom had shoveled our walkway and the streets were plowed. Amy held the wagon handle and insisted I climb in. "I'm an ox," she said, laughing. She pulled me right out to the highway.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2008

    a reviewer

    The book I read was the tracks in the snow. I liked this book because it grabbed me in the story, which made me not want to stop reading it, and also I had cliffhangers. When I read it I could see in my head what they meant because it had so many amazing details. In this book a ten-year-old girl named Erin has a babysitters name Amy who is like a sister to Erin. One day Amy tells Erin about a miner¿s cabin out in the woods were she wants to live. Amy¿s mom has to move to Tucson because she has a new job. That same day Amy tells her mom she¿s going to sleep at her friend¿s house and fly out in the morning. Erin thinks she¿s at the miner¿s cabin Amy has out in the woods. Erin and Tiffany (her science partner) go out in the woods looking for animal tracks for there project, but Erin has a different idea she wants to go look for Amy instead. Erin and Tiffany get lost and spend the night in a bobcat den. The next day the try to leave but go around in circles instead. They dangerously stay another night. While looking for wood to make an SOS sign Erin discovers something spectacular, but you will have to read it to find out what they find that amazingly cold never forgetful night.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2006

    This Book Rocks!

    This book was REALLY good. I loved how the author mixed friendship and survival into her book. I was really busy and just grabed the first book I saw out of the school library. I started reading it and I was hooked, this book ROCKS!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2006

    great book!!

    i read this book a long time ago and loved it! it has an unusual story and that makes it a good book to read. i've always wondered what it would be like to live in the wild and this explains it wonderfully. it is certainly recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2005

    This book was pretty good!

    I think this was a good book.I really just picked it out in like 5 minutes because I needed a book, and you know it was like one of the best books I'v read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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