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Angel Square
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Gr 4-6 This novel is set in Ottawa, Canada, at Christmastime in 1945. For Tommy and his buddies, the holiday spirit is dampened by the assault on a Jewish nightwatchman by a masked man. Tommy, adopting the persona of his favorite radio heroThe Shadowsets out to find the assailant. Although at the end, Tommy finds that he cannot bring the villain to justice, he does manage to make him the object of the community's scorn. Doyle is best at capturing the feel of post-war Ottawa, with its wintry landscapes and ethnic strife. Tommy is an appealing heroresourceful and courageous. He is a bit too grown up in his sensibility and independence, however. Doyle has an eye for detail, and his writing style is appealing, with short crisp sentences. Two small complaints are that the novel's humor is forced (a friend of Tommy's father shows up for a few pratfalls), and the mystery of the identity of the attacker is too easily solved. Despite the frequent mention of products and radio shows of the 1940s, this is more than an exercise in nostalgia. A book that is filled with the violence of religious warfare, but it is presented in a way that is more exaggerated than realistic. Todd Morning, Schaumburg Township Public Library, Ill.

Tommy, alias ``Lamont Cranston, the Shadow,'' and his friends Killer Bodnoff and CoCo Laframboise try to discover the man who assaulted Sammy Rosenberg's father. Tommy and Sammy are best friends, but in Lowertown, Ottawa, religion is what matters. Tommy is sure that if he finds Mr. Rosenberg's assailant, Mr. Rosenberg will recover and Sammy will return from Toronto (where his father is hospitalized); further, Tommy would be able to impress the girl of his dreams, Margot Lane. Although the message of tolerance here is heavy-handedthere are many fights between the differing faiths, and Tommy's mentally handicapped sister Pamela has been the victim of a nasty prankreaders may enjoy the more amusing dilemmas in Tommy's life, and will be reassured by the touching reunion of Tommy and Sammy on Christmas Day. (9-11)

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