Many many moons ago, I used to be in charge of the children's section of our village library. I occasionally like to pick up a middle grade or young adult mystery to take a look at what's available for younger readers now, and I have to admit that I'm glad I chose Kokopelli's Flute. Will Hobbs has written an adventure that kept me hooked from first page to last.
First of all, there's the idyllic (to me) setting: the Seed Farm in the New Mexico section of the Four Corners, within walking distance of an ancient cliff dwelling. I immediately put myself in Tep's shoes as he and his dog Dusty (the best canine companion a child could ever have) would walk there to explore.
I also learned a lot about dry farming and the rare seed business. Another fact of life-- pot hunters who destroy ancient sites for the artifacts that they can sell-- provides some excellent suspense and action sequences at the beginning and end of the book.
There's some magic in this book that calls for a reader's willing suspension of disbelief, and although I didn't really buy into Tep's changing into an animal every night, I did enjoy those sections-- especially when Tep stopped panicking and started using his head.
Kokopelli's Flute starts out rather slowly but builds momentum to a satisfying conclusion. Tep is a good-hearted, smart boy, and at that age, I would've been his friend in a heartbeat. Part of me does wonder at how much children in the proper age range would actually enjoy this book. Something tells me the "city slickers" might find it boring, and that would be a shame.
Will Hobbs still remembers what it is to be a teen-ager, unsure but trying hard. A rollicking YA set in the American Southwest, but fun for all.
From back cover: The Magic Had Always Been There...
Tepary Jones had always felt it. Fascinated by the magic of the ancient cliff dwelling called Picture House, he knew it was the perfect place to view his first total eclipse of the moon. Perhaps it would help him understand the secrets of the Ancient Ones.
In the dark silence, Tep and his dog Dusty waited for the lunar show. What Tep witnessed, to his horror, were robbers with shovels chipping into the red sandstone, destroying the ancient pictures, and stealing the priceless treasures! Left behind in their haste was a small, polished bone flute. Something told Tep he shouldn't put the flute to his lips, but he just couldn't resist. And then the magic began...
Will Hobbs is one of my top ten favorite YA authors. His books are always exciting and provide readers with a touch of history and legend, all performed in nature's most brilliant landscapes. In this adventure, Tepary Jones finds a mysterious bone flute, which changes his life and may be a link to saving the life of his mother.
My 11 year old daughter read this book outloud with me and we both enjoyed the books. The character is actually a boy but the adverture makes it likable to both boys and girls.
This book is a wonderful read for anyone looking for adventure, family, history, and magic! It is also hand autographed by the one and only Will Hobbs.