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Orca Awards to December 2020

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Smuggler's Cave
By (author): Sonya Spreen Bates Illustrated by: Kasia Charko
9781554693085 Paperback, Trade English Juvenile: Grade (CAN) from 1 - 3, Grade (US) from 1 - 3, Reading age from 6 - 8 JUVENILE FICTION / Action & Adventure / Survival Stories North America Nov 01, 2010
$6.95 CAD
Active 5.25 x 7.63 x 0.3 in | 80 gr 64 pages black and white illustrations FSC certified – mixed sources C016245 Orca Book Publishers
South Australia Premier's Reading Challenge Booklist 2011, Commended
A capsized boat and rising tide-will Jake and Tommy ever escape Marsh Island with their cousin Lexie?

Jake and his younger brother Tommy are visiting family at a beach house on the coast. Having already lost a race to his cousin Lexie, Jake can't resist a second chance at victory when she challenges him again. Only this time it's a boat race-to the legendary Smuggler's Cave and back. The ocean is deep and choppy, and the boat is harder to control than Jake thought it would be. When he and Tommy reach Smuggler's Cave, the unthinkable happens. The boat capsizes, and they are swept into the cave. Lexie comes to their rescue, but the rising tide prevents them from escaping, and the three of them soon realize they are trapped.

Sonya Spreen Bates is a Canadian writer living in South Australia. She grew up in Victoria, British Columbia, where she obtained a degree in linguistics from the University of Victoria. She then studied speech-language pathology at Dalhousie University and has spent many years working with children with communication disorders, often writing her own stories to use in therapy. Traveling to Australia was always an aspiration, but she never imagined she'd be living there one day. Sonya began writing children's fiction in 2001, inspired by her two daughters and their love of the stories she told them. She now writes for children and adults, and has been published in Australia and New Zealand as well as Canada. For more information, visit

Working in watercolor and colored pencil, Kasia Charko creates detailed, colorful paintings that bring period, place and character to life. Born and educated in England, Kasia lives in Alton, Ontario, with her family of animals.

"Jake, Tommy and Lexie are engaging characters, and the addition of a female protagonist widens the appeal of this already captivating novel…This book would be thoroughly enjoyed by any child interested in classic adventure stories with resourceful characters…Recommended." - CM Magazine

"Bates does an excellent job of writing a fast-paced story for the early chapter book genre. Reading a section that takes place in the cave aloud to students would certainly pique their interest." - Resource Links

"Bates has the wonderful knack of immediately establishing character relationships…The plot moves quickly with plenty of twists and turns. The style of language used is perfect for early readers but the book never plods and nor are young readers written down to…The dialogue is realistic and snappy contributing to the fast pace of the story." - Buzz Words Books blog

"The brisk pace may attract reluctant readers, and the suspense level is appropriate for the target audience." - Library Media Connection

"A high interest easy reader featuring an engaging trip...The characters are well drawn and interesting and resourceful...Pirates, shipwreck, waves and danger add to the excitement." - BookLinx

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