The sixth in the popular "National Parks Mystery" series, this book has plenty to recommend. The action is shared fairly equally between tenyearold Ashley Landon and her thirteenyearold brother, Jack; this time around, their family travels to Zion National Park so that their mother, a wildlife biologist, can investigate the mysterious deaths of wild horses. Along for the ride are Ethan and Summer, a pair of Native American siblings whom the Landons have taken in as foster children. When peril strikes, is it just coincidence, or does the danger have to do with the "Ghost Dance" that Ethan tricks the Landon kids into doing? The nice thing about the series is that perils such as heavy snow, a flash flood, stampeding wild horses and forest fires are more dangerous than anything a professional gumshoe might face on the mean streets. As with other books in the series, the action is often edgeoftheseat, and the plot is at times truly spooky. A teacher doing a unit about national parks, or the environment, could use the entire series as a vehicle for getting students passionate about the splendors of America's wilderness. 2000, National Geographic Society, Ages 10 to 13, $15.95. Reviewer: Donna Freedman
Gr 4-7-This story finds 12-year-old Jack and his younger sister Ashley exploring Zion National Park with their parents and two Shoshone foster kids. Ethan, who is Jack's age, is not happy to be with a white family and complains bitterly. His quiet sister, Summer, knows something about the mysterious white mustangs that are running wild in the park. Rocks fall, horses charge. Is Ethan trying to hurt or possibly kill Jack's family? The novel really picks up speed when Jack, his dad, and Ethan go on a treacherous hike through the Narrows. There is a lot going on in this mystery, yet it stays on target with only a minimal amount of preaching about the environment, race relations, and other social issues. Splendid photos accompany the sometimes pedestrian text, but unfortunately are bound together in the middle of the book and there are not enough of them. In spite of these drawbacks, Ghost Horses is an exciting and (don't tell anybody) educational read.-Ann Cook, formerly at Winter Park Public Library, FL Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.