Bruchac, Joseph illus. by Sally Wren Comport. The Dark Pond. Harper Collins, 2004. ISBN 978-0060529956 160 pp. $
In the mood for a frightening read? Well, just go for it. Joseph Bruchac’s new scary story, The Dark Pond is a creepy, freaky tale of a huge sea serpent type monster that lurks in the dark waters of a pond near Armie’s boarding school. Armie is half Shawnee Indian and half Armenian and he is sent to boarding school because his parents are both busy lawyers in Washington, D.C. this school is so much better than all the others he has attended because it emphasizes a connection to the outdoors and nature. This suits Armie, he has always felt connected to the living earth. Birds are attracted to him and he carries treats for them. Other animals just naturally want to be near him.
Despite his tough guy appearance, he actually makes some friends at the new school, which is a new thing for him. So, things are going smoothly at his new school until he spots the Dark Pond and feels drawn to that dark place. It calls to him and he knows there is something lurking there, something evil and dangerous. He reads and thinks on all the Shawnee tales he’s learned over the years, something he does when he has a problem or feels scared. No matter how he tries to fight it, he can’t keep away from the Dark Pond.
The suspense in this novel is awesome, as is the character development. Bruchac is a master storyteller, weaving the traditional Native American Tale into the life of a modern day boy hero. Don’t forget to read Bruchac’s Skeleton Man as well. Another great book for this time of year!