A children’s tale that is filled with magical realism and
strong environmental themes, The Secrets
of Chilkoot Trail by Suse Wilcox follows the adventure of stunningly
wrought characters that fans of the Children’s fiction will adore. Pearl and
her brother have always gone to their grandparents for summer vacation, and
this has been the highlight of their holidays as they come back with a lot to
talk about when they resume school. This time, they are joined by CJ, a foster
kid who is temporarily in the care of their grandparents. A hiking adventure
along the historic Chilkoot Trail eventually leads to the kids being misled by
a gruegle, a keeper of the forest. Now they find themselves working to help the
gruegles in saving the trees from diseases as well as the tyranny of Grand
Gruegle. Follow them as the mystery of the forest opens before them, a magical
world with a life of its own.
A book that is masterfully created, a story that will delight young readers, and an adventure that plunges readers into a world that is filled with nature and exciting to explore. The Secrets of Chilkoot Trail features lovable characters and readers will enjoy Wilcox's exploration of family dynamics and the mysteries of the forest. I particularly enjoyed the idea that trees have a language of their own and can communicate and relate with each other. There is a sense of the sacred that permeates the writing and as readers follow the characters through the complex world they navigate, they begin to feel a gentle warmth in their hearts for the life of the forest. This novel has strong environmental themes and it shows young readers how to care for the world around them. It is a delightful story that is beautifully written and rich in its thematic development and intriguing characterization.